Every now and then you run across a business leader who has worked successfully across multiple business segments. Very occasionally, you find a business leader who has successfully built businesses from the ground up across multiple business segments.
If you are lucky enough to find a business leader like this, you need to learn as much as possible from them as fast as you can!
And this is where, Jeff Morrill comes in!
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?
Many business leaders overlook leadership lessons from the military because we don’t think they cross the chasm between the harsh realities of war and the world of business.
I would argue that, regardless of the differences in operating environments, the same leadership principles do apply. In fact, the leadership principles tried and tested in the most extreme combat conditions must be applied in the world of business! If business leaders are not leveraging leadership lessons from the military then we are doing ourselves and our organizations a great disservice.
For example, how many times have we seen a power struggle between two mid-level business unit managers while the leader of these managers is too scared or preoccupied to take action to resolve the situation. When the lack of action by the leader allows the squabbling to continue, inevitably the whole business suffers. Morale drops, production and sales fall, customer relations are hurt and eventually the bottom line of the business feels the impact. The inability of a leader to take decisive action to resolve internal strife will damage your business.
This inaction and lack of decisiveness is not tolerated in military leadership. Lack of decisiveness costs lives in combat. Plain and simple.
It seems pretty easy to transfer this lesson from the military arena to the world of business but what about other leadership lessons?
A high performance business is created by building a high performance team. A high performance team is created by studying, building, and expecting excellence from all your staff.
I have had the opportunity to lead quite a few high performance teams over the years. I can say that it is so much easier to spend the time and money to build a high performance team than it is to limp along with “bums in chairs!”
High performance teams can overcome incredible obstacles.
The book review for this week is Right Away and All at Once by Greg Brenneman.
Brenneman is a highly respected and experienced CEO who has led the turnarounds of many large corporations like Continental Airlines, Home Depot and Burger King (see this past post for more details). He provides some amazing business and personal insights in this book as well as revealing the foundation for his successful business philosophy.
My takeaway from this book is;