Is Your Business In Danger of Disruption?

Many industries are experiencing disruption – sometimes from inside the industry, but more often from outside. Not all disruption is the same, and there are six types of disruptive forces that could affect you. The best leaders consider all six in their strategic planning, and involve their teams in staying ahead of the game.

Are you going to thrive and survive in a time of disruption and change, or will you nose-dive and disappear? Discover how to identify these six disruptive forces, align your organisation with them, and find opportunities to leverage them for greater success.

What are the six disruptive forces?

Uber is often seen as the poster child for disruption, but Uber is just one of the six kinds of disruptive forces that could turn your business upside down:

  1. Competitors: The traditional companies you’re currently fighting head to head for market share
  2. Dominators: The “big guys in town” who muscle in and take over the lion’s share of the market
  3. Start-ups: The new players in your industry, who operate with a lean, nimble, and agile approach
  4. Upstarts: The start-ups who not only take on your industry, but aren’t bound by the same rules and regulations as everybody else (Yes, these are the Ubers and Airbnbs, as well as new global competitors and online competitors)
  5. Randoms: Somebody from outside your industry who disrupts your business without even trying to compete
  6. Terminators: Businesses from a different industry who make your entire industry obsolete

The first three forces might already factor in to your strategic planning, because they are more visible and “traditional”. However, it’s the other three – upstarts, randoms, and terminators – that could cause more damage, because they are hidden and have greater potential impact.

The things you don’t know WILL hurt you!

Your business could face threats from all these six disruptive forces. The best leaders consider all six as possible future scenarios in their strategic planning. As a leader – especially if you’re a senior leader – you must still create strategic plans in the face of these six disruptive forces. But how clearly do you align your business strategy with future trends?

Broadly, most leadership teams fall into one of six categories with their strategic planning:

  1. Absent: They don’t plan at all, because they think a strategic plan is obsolete the moment they create it. That’s dangerous – and possibly even negligent.
  2. Stale: They do what they have always done, not realising that what used to work doesn’t work anymore. Stale plans create a static workplace, where people operate on auto-pilot without any flexibility.
  3. Brittle: They acknowledge that their old methods don’t work anymore, but they don’t know how to plan differently, so they only create short-term plans because they can’t see any further. Work becomes erratic and unpredictable.
  4. Aware: They are aware of some of the disruptive forces in their industry, even if they don’t know how to create a strategic plan that caters for a changing world. Work can be elastic, stretching and bending when required to step outside normal operations.
  5. Aligned: They align their business strategy with future possibilities – both opportunities and threats – to create a strong strategic plan that positions them for the future. Work is dynamic, and the organisation adapts to change effectively.
  6. Disruptive: Finally, a few businesses choose to be the disruptor, not the disrupted, in their industry. They not only embrace change, but lead it. These are the iconic businesses in an industry. They stand out from the rest because they challenge the status quo, take the lead, and ultimately change their industry. Their workplaces are dynamic, because they are on a quest.

Most leadership teams will get the biggest return on investment from the Aligned level. You might aspire to reach the top (Disruptive) level, but you first need to understand the six disruptive forces and align your strategy with them.

When you get this right, you’ll be significantly more productive because your leadership team understands the risks and opportunities in the future, and is aligned in creating and disseminating the strategic plan throughout the organisation.

As a leadership team and a leader yourself, you will also be well-placed to make informed strategic decisions that future-proof your organisation.