Disruptions need handling creatively

Disruptions can make you lose control and impact real people

Causes of disruptions

Disruptions to your business are not something you can look forward to. But, something is coming soon to disrupt it? In the context of business, disruptions are events which cause an unplanned deviation from your vision and  objectives. It may be a breaking relationship, a location problem, a new government policy, the impact of mobility, robotics and social media to name just a few. Disruptions like a  power outage can be small but very disruptive.

Whatever the disruptions are, it can cause you business model to fall to pieces and your business plans to become obsolete. Your direction is critical to success as it helps you to override distractions, or at least cope with them better, http://goo.gl/3DST8f.

The disruptions you experience, either positive or negative, can cause you to lose control. Sometimes there will be circumstances where disruptions are beyond your control. In which case, all you can do is try to minimise the impact. Always be on the lookout for new entrants to your market that offers cheap substitutes to your products. They will start by capturing low-end customers and then gradually move upmarket to pick off your higher-end customers.

Many new entrants exploit customer’s growing access to product information and ability to contribute to and share it. Disrupters are rewriting the rules of many industries and the new rules hold only until the next wave of disruption comes along. There’s almost no time for you to adapt.

Disruptions tend to come without warning

But perhaps the biggest challenge is handling big innovations that tend to come out of left field. They combine existing technologies that don’t even seem related to your offerings while they achieve a dramatically better value propositions for customers. People involved may not even see you as competition.

They don’t share your approach to solving customer problems and frustrations. They’re not even figuring out ways to offer slightly better price or performance with hopes of gaining a short-term advantage over you. Providing exceptional customers service is your best defence against this happening. Bold strategies and your ability to adapt might be the best way for you to cope.

Information technology is one of the major disruptions and has shifted the paradigms in most areas of business. In an economic sense, it has changed the patterns of investment, production,  marketing, employment and most other business activities. New technologies, big data and knowledge-based workers are creating and utilising information and knowledge rapidly. This is having a big impact on business profits, growth and sustainability in addition to breaking up families and relationships.

Since the 1970s s minicomputers and then personal computers have caused major disruptions. While they brought more capabilities and capacity to more people at a lower cost, the disruptive trends were there and are ever present today.

Innovation disruptions come and you lose control

You do not need to look far into the future to see the new wave of digital disruption headed towards you, therefore you must be prepared. It is already here, transforming the way you operate and how they engage with your customers. Disruptive innovation is not always as positive, or beneficial, as what already exists. Disruptions can also leave you in a position whereby you don’t have the resources to adapt or, it may be beyond your control.

Every disruptive innovation may not be an improvement. It could be an entirely new approach, for which you are totally unprepared. In the context of business continuity management, disruptions can cause unplanned, negative deviation from your vision.  Equally important can be the disruption to your management and business succession plans.

Inventions, advances, emerging and changing, have always been part of the modern business landscape, all causing disruptions. Today there is a need to become more proactive in early identification of disruptions. This helps you to avoid the risks, take up the opportunities and not be left in the middle. Everyone needs to take a more pragmatic approach to the future.

There are ways to minimise the impact of innovation and to take advantage of it, if appropriate.

  • Think through all the technical aspects that you can adopt to improve your customer service.
  • Try to match your market segments and your existing products to the innovation.
  • Try to reduce your price by eliminating unnecessary features to keep you more competitive.
  • Look closely at how the innovation can improve your business efficiency.
  • Test new innovations with as many stakeholders as possible to minimise their disruptions.
  • Use the innovation to open up new markets, or cause disruptions to existing markets and competitors.

Disruptions are unsettling, untidy and usually expensive things to experience

There is no way to avoid disruption in our modern economy. We must adapt or go out of business. Businesses and not-for-profit organisations today are very dependent on their ‘leadership model’ in order to cope with what needs to be done. During your planning sessions, a checklist of disruptions becomes a valuable tool. This will help to avoid, or at least cope with future disruptions to your plans and aspirations. Changes today are at least as profound as those that drove the emergence of the mainframe and the PC eras.

We are in a time when social media has become the catalyst for business transformation and customer engagement optimisation. Businesses are still largely focused on operational activities, while the talent gap continues to be a challenge. Maintaining control when you are experiencing disruptions, may require a higher degree of flexibility, http://goo.gl/OvN8DJ. Try making use of the One-Page Business Plan concept to deal with disruptions you may be facing, http://goo.gl/1IZKsv.

Coping with disruptions

As a small organisation, you have an important competitive advantage. You can be more agile and adaptive to the disruptive forces than bigger organisations. Change is not going to stop, making it important you become a more agile and adaptive business leader. We stress the importance of each organisation looking at the issues disruptions raise in more detail, before developing specific responses.

‘Creative Disruption’ is a phrase that has been used in marketing for many years. It was used to describe the desired break in existing patterns of behaviour of a target market segment, a departure from the norm.  The aims of creative disruption could include:

  • Improving your brand perceptions to particular market segments.
  • Developing marketing messages which will be remembered and acted upon.
  • Disrupting traditional marketing strategies to make existing business and marketing techniques obsolete.
  • Creating new business innovations that lead to new markets and new marketing techniques.

Creative disruption has also been used as a general business term to address challenges within a business.  To break old habits and traditional practices to improve productivity and profits. It requires the business to adapt and improve its business model. Every business continues to adjust to disruptions, as competitors respond to a business’s unique offering. Creative Disruption can help you to gain a competitive advantage by seeking tipping points for improvement before competitors replicate and/or improve upon your particular way of doing business.

Prepare your business for natural disasters

Preparing for supply chain disruptions

There will always be disruptions and the best way to manage them  is to be prepared. A business impact analysis will identify your key business processes, and the activities and resources involved. The degree of impact on your business will depend on the severity and length of the disruption. Most disruptions will have a financial impact that you will want to manage.

Disruptions can be internal, such as a breakdown of critical machinery, or external, such as interruptions to critical supplies. If critical machinery breaks down, the impacts on various business activities could include:

  • Sales and revenue.
  • Inventory management of raw materials and finished goods.
  • Ordering and purchasing procedures.
  • Supplier relationships.
  • Stakeholders involvement.
  • Marketing aspects including customer experience.
  • Public relations and business reputation.
  • Your financial situation and management.

Identify the key business activities affected by disruptions to your supply chain. You can then prioritise your efforts to focus on those activities that would have the most impact on your bottom line.

Business continuity planning

Obviously, when a business is disrupted, there will be a cost to the problems and frustrations caused. Lost revenues plus extra expenses mean reduced profits. Insurance does not cover all costs and cannot replace customers that defect due to the disruption. A business continuity plan to continue business is essential and will include:

  • Conducting a business impact analysis to identify time-sensitive or critical business functions and processes while including the resources that support them.
  • Identify, document, and implement what it will take to recover critical business functions and processes.
  • Organise a team to manage a business disruption.
  • Conduct training because this is what will keep you and your team alert to possible distuptions.
  • Monitor key business functions to evaluate the current status should a disruption be occurring.

A business continuity impact analysis identifies the damage resulting from disruption of functions and processes. It also uses information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.

Quotable quotes

“No obstacle is so big that one person with determination can’t make a difference”.  Jay Samit

“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour”. Elon Musk

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