Here's the trap. We have all experienced it:
Things are going well. It's been challenging, but your products are now well received. Your market position is strong and stable. Your team has settled into a nice pattern. Customer complaints are manageable. You are complacently resident in your comfort zone.
Then all hell breaks loose:
A new player has entered "your" market with a vengeance. A totally new, cost-effective solution has emerged to solve the problems that you currently solve. Customers are intrigued, and many are bolting. The business press is now lining up against your now-inferior solution. Your CEO examines the shocking numbers every week and demands action - anything to restore historical revenue and share stability.
So, what just happened?
Well, you have been disrupted. Outsmarted. Unprepared. Perhaps out-innovated. Could you have avoided that outcome? Not necessarily, but maybe so. It's likely that you had become too comfortable in your comfort zone.
Why did it happen?
Perhaps your team should have been operating beyond your "compact" comfort zone, living in -- or at least fully understanding -- the zone which your customers and users inhabit, fully appreciating the problems they face and the shortcomings of the solutions already available to them.
Prescription: You must expand your comfort zone!
Specifically, what should my team have been doing differently?
Here are some proactive steps to consider:
- Distinguish buyers from users
- Push developers into the field
- Hire and reward imagination
- Don't believe everything you read
- Look beyond market boundaries
- Time your own disruptions
Interested in more detail on these potential remedies? Check out my white paper.
Interested in a different, more-extensive take on the patterns of disruption?
See this recent piece by Deloitte Consulting