Leadership: Are You Disruptive? #peopleskills #innovation
by Kate Nasser |
Leadership: Will the phrase, disruptive innovation, destroy your culture?
One of the hottest business terms today is disruptive innovation. It purportedly was first coined by Clayton Christensen regarding a product or service that starts small and grows larger eventually displacing established competitors.
Now the term disruption, oddly enough, is becoming mainstream. There are business schools teaching leadership for disruptive innovation. The press love to cover it. Fast Company magazine features it. I’ve seen a few CEO’s smile when they say it.
Innovation is positive, uplifting, accelerating, worthy of applause.
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The phrase, disruptive innovation, can be threatening and negative.
Webster’s Dictionary defines disruption as …
to break apart, rupture, to throw into disorder, to interrupt the normal course or unity of
which fits with Clayton Christensen’s description.
As The People Skills Coach™, I ask leaders,
How will frequent use of that phrase affect your company?
Will it inspire your employees to innovate?
Will it draw customers to you?
What if we changed the phrase to catalytic innovation?
Both phrases represent change. Which phrase will inspire employees to innovate and make the change happen? Which will attract customers who want changes that work vs. changes that tear things apart?
A recent study from Young & Rubicam reports that the number one unconscious value and need is security. So once again data suggests that change is difficult for many people.
Some leaders react by pushing hard to break through the need for security. They choose phrases like disruptive innovation. They then see their change leadership falter as employees and customers defend the status quo from the threat of disruption.
Leaders who highlight the positive instead of the disruptive pain see their change leadership succeed.
Leadership: Are You Disruptive or Catalytic?
- Do you use the word disruption to mean positive change? What effect is this having on your employees and customers? Do they see disruption as positive or as threatening and painful?
- Will the popular phrase, disruptive innovation, infiltrate the definition of teamwork? Will it bring teams to collaborate well and create innovative solutions?
The workforce is diverse in age, gender, and culture. Will that phrase inspire them all to vital positive interactions? Or will it pit one team against the other as they live the disruption?
- How many of your customers seek disruption? Can you imagine your marketing and sales executives telling customers, we aim to create a disruption?
Be careful. Even customers who seek change often want it with low risk. Catalytic change sounds hopeful with a positive ending; disruptive change can sound unfinished and downright scary. People react based on what they perceive — success or threat!
If you choose threatening phrases to lead change, you are assuming that others will perceive this in a positive way and respond well. You are assuming you will see positive results. Those are two very risky leadership assumptions.
The unconscious need for security among those that must make innovation happen may have more power than you think.
Leaders, your words touch employees and customers. What are they hearing? What are they thinking? What will they do? Don’t assume. Find out!
What phrases inspire you to innovate? ‘Disruptive innovation’ or something else?
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!