How To Thrive In An Age Of Disruption

How To Thrive In An Age Of Disruption
SHARE
THIS



Michael McQueen (pictured below) is a five-time bestselling author, trends forecaster and keynote speaker. His latest book How to Prepare Now for What’s Next examines the key disruptions that will shape the coming decade and outlines a game plan for staying one step ahead of change. Here, McQueen offers his tips for those fretting about the pending disruption apocalypse…

In June 2015, the retiring CEO of Cisco John Chambers startled much of the business world when he predicted that, “Forty per cent of businesses (today) will not exist in a meaningful way in 10 years”.

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 10.17.22 am

While you could dismiss this statement as misguided hyperbole, the reality is that Chambers may well be spot on. After all, the average lifespan of a major listed company has already shrunk from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today.

The coming years will be marked by disruption that has the potential to threaten the relevance and survival of many businesses. The impact of AI, nanotechnology, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles and blockchain is hard to overestimate. And that is just the beginning.

In the face of such rapid and widescale change, it is critical to prepare now for what lies ahead.

Having spent much of the last decade working with some of the most visionary organizations and leaders on the planet, I would suggest that there are three essential keys to future-proofing any business in the face of disruption:

  1. Dig the Well Before You Get Thirsty

If you wait till a crisis unfolds, you will be operating from a position of survival, not strategy.

It is always best to innovate and reinvent yourself when times are good because that is when you have resources, time and perspective on your side. That said, it requires visionary leadership and courage to embrace change and embark on reinvention when there appears to be no pressing reason to do so.

Recently working with Toyota’s leadership, I was struck by an ethos within the company that originated with its former chairman Hiroshi Okuda. Always reform business when business is good, Okuda repeatedly urged.

More than a pithy quote, this principle has been critical to the enduring success of legendary brands such as DuPont, Corning and National Cash Register (NCR) who each preempted disruption and therefore flourished rather than floundered when it hit.

  1. Focus on Friction

Friction is loosely defined as anything that creates complexity, confusion, frustration or irritation for your customer. Put simply, it is anything that negatively affects the customer experience.

While a commitment to enhancing the customer experience is an innately valuable pursuit for any business, becoming obsessive about friction is critical in this age of disruption. Why? Because the friction you are unwilling to acknowledge or address will be the very thing that leaves you vulnerable to being disrupted.

With technology lowering the barriers to entry in every industry, there is no shortage of agile, hungry, customer-focused start-ups who will eagerly storm into your market with the intent of making your customer’s life easier. Taking your customer for granted by ignoring friction gives emerging competotors the foothold they are looking for.

The example of Transferwise’s entry to the currency exchange business is a powerful case-in-point. Capitalizing on consumers’ enduring frustration with the cost and time-lag involved in transferring money across international borders, Transferwise entered the market with a solution so cheap and simple that they have utterly disrupted the incumbent industry leaders and left them scrambling to catch up.

  1. Foster Healthy Paranoia

The two essential attitudes of any disruption-proof business are hunger and humility. The moment you think you have ‘made it’, you have passed it. There is no room for complacency or arrogance in an increasingly complex and competitive world.

Healthy paranoia is by far the best antidote for complacency and arrogance. Operating every day like you have a target painted on your back will keep you on your toes. It will ensure you stay hungry for the next opportunity and humble enough to remain open to new ways of doing things.

At the core of Facebook’s corporate DNA is a belief that could almost be a definition of healthy paranoia. Mark Zuckerberg goes to great lengths to ensure that everyone in the business operates with the mentality that ‘If we don’t create the thing that kills Facebook, someone else will.’

Imagine if every member in your team came into work each day with that philosophy? While it may be an uncomfortable notion at first glance, this sort of healthy paranoia is exactly what’s required to stay on your A-game and one step ahead of disruption.

Ignoring or fighting the disruptions that are poised to impact your business is futile. In the face of change, the only option we have to adapt. To paraphrase the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, resisting change is like trying to hold your breath – even if you’re successful, it won’t end well. It will be much the same in the business world in the coming years.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Disruption Michael McQueen

Latest News

Starts At 60 Makes Two Executive Appointments
  • Media

Starts At 60 Makes Two Executive Appointments

Mature-age media platform Starts at 60 has welcomed two new leaders to its executive team as it looks to scale up and broaden its commercialisation. Amena Reza (pictured above, right) moves into the role of chief operating officer. She was formerly the managing director of ML Design, and is a chartered accountant and a non-executive […]

HubSpot Creates ‘Marketing Hub Starter’ For Small Businesses
  • Marketing
  • Technology

HubSpot Creates ‘Marketing Hub Starter’ For Small Businesses

Marketing software player HubSpot has launched Marketing Hub Starter, a new software offering that aims to give growing teams the tools they need to start marketing right. This new tier of HubSpot’s platform is designed with small businesses in mind, consolidating the capabilities of existing disparate marketing tools into one platform and offering an affordable […]

Market Research Industry Cracks Down On Shonky Behaviour With New Digital Platform
  • Marketing

Market Research Industry Cracks Down On Shonky Behaviour With New Digital Platform

The Association of Market and Social Research Organisations (AMSRO) has launched a digital platform to highlight fake or illegitimate research activities to the public. ‘Phish of the Day’ enables AMSRO members, as well as the general public, to report any scams or non-genuine market and social research activities to the association. These might include telemarketing […]

Pooled Energy Appoints Magnum & Co And The Wired Agency
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Pooled Energy Appoints Magnum & Co And The Wired Agency

Swimming pool electricity retailer Pooled Energy has appointed Magnum & Co and sister agency The Wired Agency to its roster, following a competitive pitch. Magnum & Co will handle Pooled Energy’s social media and PR, while The Wired Agency has been appointed to manage the company’s search and display advertising. Both agencies will collaborate with […]

Masculinity Roasted In Clever New Ad
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Masculinity Roasted In Clever New Ad

Think masculinity means drinking a case without chundering? Well, rediscover it (& possibly yourself) with this top ad.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
WPP AUNZ Partners With Career Trackers Indigenous Internship Program
  • Advertising

WPP AUNZ Partners With Career Trackers Indigenous Internship Program

Advertising and marketing network WPP AUNZ has joined the Career Trackers Indigenous Internship Program as part of its commitment to a diverse workforce, and the creation of opportunities that inspire excellence. As part of the program, WPP AUNZ has welcomed its first three interns: Abi-Leigh Dillon (WPP AUNZ), Amy Mccutcheon (MediaCom) and Jacinta Evans (Ogilvy), […]

Taboo Goes On A Hiring Spree
  • Advertising

Taboo Goes On A Hiring Spree

Taboo has gone a hiring spree. And when it comes to sprees, that's far better than a shooting one or a farting one.

M&C Saatchi Group’s 1440 Shuts Up Shop
  • Marketing

M&C Saatchi Group’s 1440 Shuts Up Shop

Sadly, M&C Saatchi's 1440 is no more. And chances of it being reborn as 1550 not looking much chop either.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Luke Kelly Becomes A Partner At HBT
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Luke Kelly Becomes A Partner At HBT

B&T's not sure what's with that twirly thing in the press photo, suffice to say a vortex to an alternate dimension?

Women In Media Profile: Alison Michalk
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Alison Michalk

If B&T's Women in Media profiles were an animal they would be a gazelle or lioness, or even a lioness eating a gazelle.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Grant Broadcasters Makes Several Changes To Senior Executive Team
  • Media

Grant Broadcasters Makes Several Changes To Senior Executive Team

Independent media company Grant Broadcasters has announced a number of changes to its executive ranks. Grant Cameron will move up to become non-executive chairman for the company, and Alison Cameron (pictured above) – currently the chief operating officer – will assume the CEO role. Dugald Cameron remains responsible for the family’s investment portfolio and is […]