Disruption at work


About a decade or two ago, being a ‘disruptive’ person meant that action will ensue, and the person’s behaviour would be brought under control.

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But in today’s times, disruptive individuals are treasured, people understand that they are mavericks for a reason, employers are beginning to understand that their creative approaches and uncontrolled minds are fertile grounds from which arise brilliant ideas that help run the business.

Disruption has evolved to be a concept not just for success, but for thriving every day. Being called “disruptive” in the workplace is like being called a “change agent” ten years ago. Savvy employers are now vigorously searching for ‘disruptive energy’ to keep the workplace bleeding edge. What disruptive ideas outsourced business consultants used to bring to a business, employees are expected to do now.

Disruptive is authentic, curious and bold. Dis-ruptive minds fail to be satisfied with even perfectly working systems. Their minds are constantly asking questions and seeking higher answers to bring about change. The biggest inventions of our times have been made by tireless, disruptive minds who were willing to questions norms and acceptable theories. These disruptive nonconformists are people who of-ten perfect processes and make organisations success-ful, transform the industry as a whole and reshape an organisations very DNA.

There are still a few misconceptions attached to the word disruption. Being disruptive is not being eccentric. It is being eccentric with a constructive purpose. Disruptive energy and a head that thinks tangentially in the board room is something every-one needs to own. If one is not being disruptive, it means that they are not doing their job. Also, ‘disrup-tive’ is not arrogant. It means in some places, having the foresight; in some, speed and in some others, the right intention, the right timing, unconventional wis-dom and creativity.


While some organisations have a certain degree of reservation when it comes to their disruptive-minded team mates they know they cannot be overlooked because they are the people creating headways and throwing up newer, better alternatives to ritualistic practises and business models. For real change to happen however, organisations need to bring dis-ruption at their core. Companies that are disruptive by nature define the industry they operate in and are synonymous with exciting and newer products or ser-vices. Such products create new customer clusters. An example would be Apple which has earned the distinction of being one of the continuously disrup-tive organisations by far. Apple’s is a cult status and imagery few others can command. Yet another classic example would be Sir Richard Branson, a strong ad-vocate and follower of disruption in business.

So why is there a sudden interest in disruption? Companies are realising that they are looking in the face of their own death by sticking to obsolete ways of running the business while competitors who sub-scribed to the disruptive theory have clearly surged ahead. They have come to realise that customer ex-pectations cannot be met by remaining the same. They only way to remain in sight and thought of the customer is by denouncing parts of the business that do not conform to the times.

What is ‘disruptive’? What ‘disruption’ can actu-ally save the day?

To be disruptive is to move quickly, pinpoint that one thing the customer needs right now and, deliver it at the earliest. Most companies have lengthy process-es and protocols that defeat the core concept of dis-ruption itself. It is not uncommon to see companies and individuals finding it difficult to get around dis-ruption.


Disruption is a mind shift. It means moving out of processes and protocols, moving away from comfort zones. Disruption always opens up a market in unexpected ways; it makes space above or below the tier, at the top or the bottom of the pyramid. When you develop a product or a service that is the baby of a disruptive idea, it stands out leaving its competitors fighting for the same market-space and mind space whereas, the new born will stand to appeal to a new crowd because of what makes it different, thus bring-ing to its owners the first-mover advantage.


Trained eyes are not the ones that are disruptive. Experts are, far too often, myopic. Disruption often than not, comes when the same business is seen by the eyes of an outsider. Because an insider is fed on the constant pluses and minuses of a product or business, their minds will attempt to see the logic and force categorise thoughts into presumed ‘what will work’ and ‘what will not work’. Disruption is not a strategy to fix a problem which is also why people trained in the business miss the bus. Disruption is about finding opportunities within the business’s framework and building from it to create a successful product. The objective becomes identifying the cliché, the junc-tion where the whole industry is stuck, identifying the assumptions/beliefs both insiders and outsiders have of the business/industry, and having the courage to pursue the thought. That is what Red Bull did in the world of colas and sodas. It did not promise ‘an aspirational image’ or taste or promise to make the drinker happy. Instead, it concentrated on giving the drinker a shot of energy when most needed. Needless to say, Red Bull rocked.

There is a method to the madness called disrup-tion. It is not pursuing someone’s fancy. It is foresight and understanding of the market but having a mind that can see beyond the ordinary.



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Author:  buddingmanagers
Posted On:  Thursday, 12 June, 2014 - 17:55

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