There is no place you can go nowadays without hearing the D-word. Disruption. Everything needs to be disruptive. We need disruptive companies, we need disruptive team members, our whole food consumption pattern was disrupted, everything and everybody needs to be disruptive.
The Next Big Thing
Something else you may hear quite often nowadays are discussions about the new way of work. Everybody agrees that the world has changed and that it will never be the same. As such, our working worlds have changed as well, and they as well are not likely to go back to what they were anytime soon. And we all seem to love it right? I mean, aren’t we all looking forward to who will be the next Google or the next Facebook? Will Apple be still as hot in five years time as they were in the final years of Steve Jobs (I am writing this on a brand new Microsoft Surface…, the one that replaced my iPad and Macbook Air). Will it be Elon Musk Inc.?
Everything we ‘predict’ about the next big thing is a prediction. And it should be handled with care as such. Nobody knows what will be next so nobody knows where you should really put your efforts and money in. So how do you prevent from being the laggard time after time after time? You need to be flexible. Or disruptive, whatever you like.
Disruption vs. flexibility
Being flexible allows you to be disruptive. Being flexible means it won’t take you months or years to change plans. And if it doesn’t take you months or years to adapt to new trends, you can actually be disruptive. Because you have the ability to switch gears in the fastest way possible and be ahead of your (new) competitors time after time. I mean, everybody knows the examples of Netflix, Uber and Airbnb. But shouldn’t they be questioning themselves where they will be in five or ten years from now? Sooner or later, Airbnb will become too commercial or too much like a chain. And sooner or later, Uber is going to have to comply with legislation, no matter how strong their legal teams may be. These companies seem very disruptive at first sight but it takes them just a few years to become part of the establishment as well.
I read a quote the other day that triggered me: “If you were to cross the Atlantic by boat and you either had the choice to touch the steering wheel once, or once every day. Which option would you pick?”. Everybody picks the second option as the change of failure is way too big in the first scenario. So what would it take to apply this principle to the world of business? You are a boat, the Atlantic is your market. You tell me how often you want to touch the steering wheel.