How to Be Relentlessly Committed to Self-Disruption

Disruption is highly uncomfortable! Purposefully causing disruption inside your business seems like a stupid thing to do! For what reason would you want to disrupt something that is running smoothly?

Well, for starters, building a business that never changes is a flawed business strategy. A business that is too rigid to change will be obliterated by the fast-changing marketplace! As Clayton Christensen pointed out in the Innovator’s Dilemma, the fact that you are successful makes it hard to keep the edge you need to win in the future!

We do not have to look too hard before we find prime examples of businesses that were once at the top of their game and now have failed or are basically on their death bed! It is clear that they were not relentlessly committed to self disruption.

The easy examples that always get the spotlight are businesses like Blockbuster, Sears, and Toys R Us. But, there are countless others including Radio Shack, Vitamin World, Gymboree, Swissair, Woolworth’s, Sharper Image, Polaroid, and the list goes on!

So, what can a business leader do to productively disrupt their business?

How to Productively Disrupt Your Business

There are many ways to purposefully and productively disrupt your business. I have given you ten ideas below:

  1. Firstly, do not accept the status quo. Constantly challenge industry and cultural norms!
  2. Continually analyze what is working and what is not working in your business and industry.
  3. Encourage a culture of innovation and exploration within your organization.
  4. Allow employees a few hours each week to do something different and innovative aimed at improving the business. Have a contest every few months to present these ideas and then implement the winning idea.
  5. Periodically, bring in thought leaders to address your leadership team and talk about where your market/technology is moving.
  6. Encourage your staff to participate in industry forums and associations.
  7. Build an advisory board for your business that includes a diverse set of people from inside and outside your organization.
  8. Spend time reading and learning on a diverse set of topics and fields.
  9. Build cross functional teams inside your organization that and make them responsible for solving tough issues.
  10. Finally, run some of the thought exercises that I provide in the links at the bottom of this article. Pick some easy and powerful wins and build some “productive change” momentum!

Take Action

It is now time to become relentlessly committed to self-disruption!

Where are you and your business in this process? Decide what you need to do to begin to build this culture of positive self-disruption and list out those steps. Assign a cross functional team in your organization to prioritize these actions, take ownership for them, and lead them to completion!

Finally, take a look at these related articles:


I hate it when somebody says, ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it.’ It drives me absolutely up a wall.” Nick Saban


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