Let’s be more disruptive!

Being disruptive is usually considered to be a bad thing in the work place. But maybe disruption is not all bad.problem solving

Clayton Christensen, a Professor at Harvard Business School, first published his ideas on the benefits of being disruptive in his book “ The Innovator’s Dilemma” in 1997. His theory describes the process by which companies tend to innovate faster than their customers’ needs evolve. As a result the organisation ends up producing products or services that are too sophisticated, too expensive and too complicated for many of the customers in their market place. This then provides the opportunity for innovative companies to introduce a simpler and cheaper product to the mass market. It is the innovation that these companies bring to the market that is the positive disruptive force.

So what has this theory to do with management?

The business world is constantly changing and unpredictable. Traditional practices are insufficient to meet these new demands so it’s time for managers to develop fresh thinking. Successful managers are those who are innovative and pro-active, not complacent and reactive. Successful managers are those that disrupt themselves.

Disruptive Innovation

To be innovative managers need to understand their environment. They need to really understand what the business needs from its people. They need to drive value creation and develop the agility to adapt as their organisation and its environment changes.

To do this active and regular bench marking is required, so that managers know what’s actually going on. Some of the things managers may need to monitor and track are:

1. The leaky bucket - How much money is spent on ad-hoc, unplanned activities and projects.

2. Lost talent risk – Who are your high performers and what positions are they in compared to the relevant market? If there is a mismatch you may be at risk of losing these valuable people.

3. Past stars – Who is rewarded highly but their current level of performance does not justify this?
4. Reward governance - How are reward decisions managed across the business and how do they vary between departments and line managers?

Disruption needs to become a part of the managers thinking and problem solving approach in the modern business environment. But it is disruption with a plan, not disruption without a purpose!