“Disrupt the competition,” a commonly used business buzz phrase, produces over 1.3 million Bing search results. Of those results, many refer to business events, such as Disrupt SF by TechCrunch, and educational tools to empower your business to beat the competition. However, what separates this educational post from the others is that the true meaning of “disrupt” is defined with three actionable ways for business leaders to upset the competition.
First, let’s define “disrupt.” According to Bing Dictionary “disrupt” has two distinct meanings:
- “Interrupt: to interrupt the usual course of a process or activity”
- “Destroy order: to destroy the order or orderly progression of something.”
Applying this definition to business, disrupting the competition in the coming year requires two things from your company. One, business leaders must not be afraid of interruption in some the usual business practices, namely internal communication and organizational structure. Two, business disruption requires your company to destroy the order of preference in your customers’ minds if a competitor is top-of-mind currently.
Here are three ways to help you smartly interrupt the status-quo processes within your company that aren’t working, and capture the preference of your customers’ purchasing decisions.
1. Re-think and experiment with new internal communication processes.
Adam Pisoni, co-founder and CTO of Yammer, suggests business leaders reimagine their traditional hierarchical structures as networks of people communicating to get things done. For example, he recommends the following action:
“I think we’re only beginning to explore the balance between hierarchies and networks. In truth we’ll probably need both. Networks of hierarchies and hierarchies of networks. To understand where the hierarchy is failing, look for places where change is particularly difficult, or where people seem unhappy doing what they’re supposed to do. Or where people are having lots of meetings. Meetings are usually a reflection of a broken hierarchy as they are usually held to give a status update, inform other groups, or ask other groups to do things for you. These are areas where working as a network negates the need for as many meetings.”
2. Fortify individuals and teams with technology to succeed.
Obviously companies need traditional technology to communicate, project manage and complete tasks, such as email and Office Suite products. However, many organizations, in fact, 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies, are implementing Enterprise Social Networks as a way to encourage employee engagement, innovation and collaboration. Last year, the Yammer Blog produced “Steps to Cultivating Employee Engagement.” These steps still ring true as a valuable resource for business leaders. The following steps show how to cultivate employee engagement with social technology:
- Ensure employees feel safe in an open communication environment.
- Create a flexible work environment.
- Work with purpose.
- Focus on culture.
- Establish role clarity with flexibility.
- Recognize accomplishments publicly.
- Empower employees to take action.
- Decentralize decision-making.
- Focus responsibilities based on employee strength.
- Emphasize and encourage learning.
- Hire for morale.
3. Lead like a visionary.
“A visionary leader turns vision into reality by creating a vivid image of the target they need to attain and creating a specific strategic plan for the coming year,” suggests Forbes contributor, Dave Lavinsky, in “Are You a Visionary Business Leader?” Considering this, a visionary leader you must have a vision and know how to portray a vivid image of that vision’s target to employees. Luckily, Microsoft is offering a dynamic learning environment for business executives to develop a strategic vision at its annual SharePoint Conference from March 3 to 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, NV.
The 2014 SharePoint Conference aims to help business leaders, along with their technical peers, transform their businesses into competitive disruptors. The Business Executive track within the conference focuses on developing game-changing leadership skills, overcoming organizational obstacles with new communication models, and most importantly, how to get the most out of strategic technical investments. For a detailed look at what the 2014 SharePoint conference offers a business leader, visit the event page or attend the event in-person to network and learn about disruptive leadership.
Photo by Amodiovalerio Verde (Flickr Commons).