Disruption sounds like a setback from the outside, but it’s really an opportunity to have a breakthrough. Digital disruption is the art of implementing new digital tools that drive change and positively impact the value proposition of your business.
Tom Goodwin summarizes digital disruption beautifully: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”
All four companies mentioned above completely disrupted their industry through innovation. They didn’t just launch a business and do a few things differently – they transformed the entire business model from the ground up.
If you want to be a leader in your industry and achieve consistent breakthroughs, you have to disrupt completely – and from the inside out.
Start disruption from within
You can’t disrupt an industry if your company lacks innovation, and you can’t innovate on top of a mess.
Here’s a 5-step guide that outlines a practical process for embracing digital disruption within your own company and teaches you how to prepare for implementing company-wide change. Without company-wide change, you’ll never achieve innovation.
Step 3 in the guide linked above highlights the importance of innovation as discipline: “to successfully implement digital disruption, innovation must be prioritized and ideally be enshrined as a formal discipline (or at the very least as a formal job description, such as Chief Innovation Officer, or CINO) within an organization.”
Without innovation, disruption will level existing infrastructure with nothing new to replace it. Instead of leaving a black hole, disruption by effective innovators can displace an entire industry or market and replace it with something more efficient at the same time.
Consider what happened with Kodak. For decades, they dominated the photography industry with cameras and film. When the industry was disrupted by the innovation of digital photography, Kodak fell to the wayside.
Change is the foundation for breakthroughs
To have a breakthrough in business, you need to embrace change. Change will force you to step outside of your comfort zone, and will challenge you to the core, but there’s no other way.
Getting your employees to accept change will be your biggest challenge. Instead of trying to sell the changes to your staff, empower them to perceive the benefits for themselves. Explain to them how each change will create a positive impact in the future for the business and for them. They need to know how they fit into the big picture in order to support your vision.
The clearer you paint the picture and explain the long-term implications, the quicker your staff will embrace your changes. When your staff does this, you’ll garner their authentic support rather than resentful tolerance.
Where is your next breakthrough?
To achieve a breakthrough in business, the old must be destroyed completely – no Band-Aids allowed. You have to be willing to first acknowledge what isn’t working, and then uproot all of it. You have to be willing to quickly move a new plan into position and give it your all.
A breakthrough isn’t an intellectual understanding, and it’s not being inspired by the insights you gained from your last networking event. A breakthrough is a moment in time when you achieve something new; when you reach a new level in your game.
For instance, if your direct mail conversion rates have been static for five years, the moment you beat your control and those rates go up, you’ve experienced a breakthrough. From that moment on, you’re on a different playing field. You’re playing the same game, but you broke through the barrier you formerly couldn’t get past.
Take every opportunity to disrupt. Don’t just add more layers of confusion to your business by applying Band-Aids to digital systems that don’t work. Disruption and innovation are the keys to your next business breakthrough.
Currently, Larry writes for Entrepreneur, Social Media Week, CEOWORLD Magazine and the HuffingtonPost among others.
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