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Disruption - How to Manage Threats like Opportunities

Disruption is undoubtedly the greatest global commercial and cultural threat all organisations and governments will face over the next years.



It is critical for leaders to do some serious crystal ball gazing to work out what they need to do proactively and defensively to best manage these threats and opportunities. Businesses need to understand disruption, to innovate in response, or take the initiative and be a disruptor.


What will your organization do to compensate for the lost revenue?

As processes will get more and more automated and information becomes increasingly available, how will humans compete with machines? How will successful branding look like, when humanity is faced with a global automation? How will we solve problems, think, feel or fall in love with a product or service? Consumers either care deeply or they don’t care at all; there is no median. Branding needs to find the answer to this question.


Breaking Down the Walls of Predictability. Businesses must find their ‘Inner Disruptor'

Whenever you are about to do what you think you should do, stop, take a deep breath and do the opposite.

If you think you are getting too obsessed with a problem, come in closer and go down the rabbit hole.

If your education tells you, to think about a problem from a particular perspective, move and look at it from the opposite.

If everybody around you thinks that something is crazy, you are on the right track.

If everybody does ‘it’ in one way, BORING – Do it different to stand out from the norm.

If everybody tells you that out of experience something can’t work, know you found the disrupting GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY .



Breaking down the walls of Predictability is threatening to the many. Don’t be afraid to be different. “Always go too far, because that’s where you find the truth.” (Albert Camus)



Be Aware of Consensus

Be aware of Ergonomist tendencies. This bizarre profession is based on the notion that normalcy is superior to innovation and that focus groups should drive design. In our times of disruption, no industry can work in that fashion.


The products and services of the future that will create commercial sustainable success are not created by the consensus of a focus group but by individual thinkers, futurists, designers and technology.

Thus, in brand communication, we must innovate and not be afraid to challenge and question traditional techniques. We must innovate, creating desires and the need for something new.


Personality Characteristics of the Future

Most cultures reinforce competition, but the future will increasingly see other ways to build high-performing organizations. To survive and thrive, organizations need to become more agile. Whereas traditional organizations seem hierarchical and linear, agile organizations feel more organic. They balance stability with dynamism and can adapt for an ever-changing, unpredictable future - fast.


The personal characteristics that lead to success in an agile organization differ from those in a traditional organization.

Working in a complex world requires teams to be inspirational and to have a clear vision. The ultimate success of the organization is the combined effort of these people. But great teams do not mean technically the best people or the most experienced. Instead, it means people that have the right personality, behaviours, and set of values for agility.


Here are some of the personality traits of the future that are helping your business to flourish in times of disruption.


1. Ability to Handle Ambiguity and Agreeableness

Teams that handle ambiguity well mainly focus on their goals and prioritize to get started instead of investing a significant amount of time to completely understand and embed every detail and risk into the plan. Being agreeable is not about blindly agreeing without any thinking; in fact, research has found that increased diversity at work is associated with healthy conflict that allows room to test ideas and alternative perspectives. Agreeableness is about empathetic listening and being attuned to feedback.


2. Straightforwardness

Straightforwardness means being frank with one’s viewpoints while being courageous enough to politely voice opinions that conflict with the team.


3. Be Aware of Neuroticism

High levels of neuroticism are less useful in an agile team environment. Emotional stability is crucial, as agile organizations focus on rapid learning and decision cycles, frequent testing and experimentation. People should not be overwhelmed by anxiety when the product does not turn out as expected or when issues arise.


4. Be Aware of a Conservation Mindset and Traditional Leadership. “You cannot solve problems with the same thinking that created them.” (Einstein)

Delivering value in a complex world requires to work against many constraints in the existing organization. That means people must have an entrepreneurial streak or be willing to try different things. People with a traditional sense of leadership, however, may try to assert authority and power over others in the team. Agile teams, however, thrive on confronting the status quo and discarding tradition in pursuit of a vision. They flourish by stretching or redefining existing constraints and by bending rules and traditions when necessary.



* You can find more information in this article by McKinsey The five trademarks of agile organizations.


Interested? Stay tuned. More about agile teams is coming soon,


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© 2012 by S.Warlich