Play To Your Strengths:
Ensure your employees are relevant, and your brand will be too
In the same way that individuals do best when they disrupt to areas of personal strength, so do companies. Standing out in the crowded marketplace is different than trying to ‘be’ the marketplace. When you bring your 1-2 top strengths to work, and then use them deliberately, you are more likely to stand out.
Disruption theory suggests a number of techniques that can help differentiate your company in a congested marketplace. They include:
Companies Don’t Disrupt; People Do: Incorporate the guidelines for personal disruption recommended above. If your people are stagnant, your business will be too. Embrace The Right Kind Of Risk: Too often, company leaders still speak in terms of competitive risk: how to go headto-head against the competition and come out victorious. But market risk is the real playground for disruption. Identify a need that is not being met - potential customers that are not being served by your current offerings. Find a way to meet this need, be the first player in this as yet undefined market, and your brand will be the one consumers associate with it. Accept that risk, and according to the theory of disruption, your odds of success are 6x higher, and your revenue opportunity 20x greater.
In the 1980’s, WordPerfect owned the market for word processing applications. In the early 90’s, WordPerfect, comfortable and perhaps feeling a little entitled, hesitated to shift from DOS to Windows. But it’s misleading to say “WordPerfect.” The decision was made by a handful of complacent individuals in top management. They trailed Microsoft with Windows by a year and a half, and their initial release in the new platform was dead-onarrival. Entitlement kills initiative. So does stagnation. Avoid the danger of these quiet assassins by integrating ongoing disruption as part of business strategy. Disruption isn’t a one-time for all-time shift. As employees have the opportunity and encouragement to disrupt themselves, your enterprise will be reinventing itself. Encourage personal disruption, and your brand will evolve to remain fresh, appealing and relevant to prospective employees and customers alike.
Whitney Johnson Speaker, Author | Disrupt Yourself Whitney Johnson is the author of the critically-acclaimed Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, and was recently inducted into Thinkers50 as one the world’s leading management thinkers. She is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review and a co-founder of Forty Women Over 40 to Watch. You can follow her on Twitter at @johnsonwhitney.
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