As a general rule, human beings fear change and will often fight to maintain the status quo. If there are individuals within your organization who are either not interested or downright hostile toward a focus on disruptive scenarios, there are several steps you can take to bring them into the fold.
Open a dialogue
Before you attempt to persuade colleagues to jump right into a specific initiative, provide a safe space to discuss disruption in general. Organizational change consultant David Hofstetter suggested posing questions such as: Where and how could disruption impact your business? How will your skills and those of your employees be impacted? Are you embracing change, shying away from it, or ignoring it? What are your competitors doing that you are not? What the newest trends in your industry?
Attend forward-thinking industry events
The sessions and conversations you and your colleagues will have at conferences centered on innovation will take your thinking to another level. Encourage your colleagues and employees to see for themselves what disruption means and what it can do for growth and profit. Appropriate events may vary by industry, but some good ones are Tech Crunch Disrupt, World Business Forum, and Fortune Growth Summit.
Hire an outsider
Sometimes, an internal person can repeat the same message dozens of times, but no one really hears it until it comes from the mouth of an external consultant who is perceived as an expert. When it comes to embracing disruption, you might make greater headway by bringing on a single or team of advisers who can offer an objective picture of your organization’s status compared to the larger market, and can provide direction and next steps.
Conduct periodic market disruptor analyses
Often, disruptive innovations (<<interview with Guy Kawasaki) are considered far away, irrelevant, and optional. There is no better way to make a case to in-denial executives than to regularly monitor and explain how disruptive competitors are threatening your business TODAY. “As the barriers to entry in businesses get lower and easier, competitors and new ways of doing things will appear fast and more often,” said Hofstetter.
Change your tone to one of urgency
As I mentioned before, human beings prefer to support existing ways of doing things. For this reason, companies tend to be conservative, reactive, and focused on immediate business fires rather than the ones that threaten to burn from miles away. Use the data from your market disruptor analyses to connect the dots for your leaders – why is disruptive change something that requires attention this instant? Speaking in terms of lost profit or customers is more likely to resonate with some leaders than “we should really try this new thing.”
Fight the temptation to be insular
While being laser focused on your own daily operations is more comfortable, putting on blinders is dangerous in a business world that changes rapidly. Therefore, you should make sure that your company has a pipeline to receive guidance from a variety of sources. For instance, an advisory council that taps people in different roles in different fields will provide a fresh perspective that is impossible to get otherwise. When it comes to understanding where your market is going, often you can take cues from other industries that are a year or two ahead of yours.
For more where this came from, check out the QuickBase Fast Track blog.