We often hear about small startup companies disrupting large, established market leaders. But what about companies that take the initative and disrupt themselves? There ARE such examples – even if they are harder to find – and they provide valuable lessons for all business leaders.
I recently worked with the senior leaders of an organisation in Brisbane, and they are looking at changing the way they do business. They recognise that the way they’ve been doing things in the past may not be enough to sustain them in the future and are taking steps to disrupt themselves before they’re disrupted by outsiders.
During our discussions, one of the leaders in the group asked me if there were any examples of businesses that successfully disrupted themselves, which is exactly what they’re trying to do. The answer is yes! While there may not be as many well-known examples of this (it’s sexier to talk about outsiders like Netflix disrupting Blockbuster, or Flickr and Instagram disrupting Kodak!), it’s certainly possible for businesses to disrupt themselves and stay ahead of the curve.
One example of a company that disrupted itself is Netflix. They started off competing with Blockbuster by offering mail order DVDs instead of physical stores, but later disrupted themselves and went digital. Then they disrupted themselves again and became a content creation company.
Netflix isn’t the only company to do this, and in my book “Disrupted,” I discuss several other examples. I’ve created a worksheet that lists some examples of companies that have done it successfully. I invite you to explore these examples with your team members and consider how you can use these models to disrupt your own business or organisation.