Shyam's Slide Share Presentations


This article/post is from a third party website. The views expressed are that of the author. We at Capacity Building & Development may not necessarily subscribe to it completely. The relevance & applicability of the content is limited to certain geographic zones.It is not universal.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Disrupt Yourself III

2. Identify your disruptive strengths.When disruptive companies identify unmet needs, they make sure those needs match their distinctive strengths. They realize that market risk (trying and potentially failing at something new) is better than competitive risk (competing against entrenched, established players). A textbook example comes from the Mexican wireless telephony provider América Móvil. Instead of going head-to-head with the wire-line incumbent, it went after the more than 80% of the population who wanted to communicate but couldn’t afford a landline.
As you look to disrupt yourself, don’t think just about what you do well—think about what you do well that most others can’t. Those are your disruptive strengths. For example, I was a good financial analyst, but plenty of folks can build models. What people have said they value most about me is what psychologist Howard Gardner calls “searchlight intelligence”: the ability to discern connections across spheres and see opportunities for cross-pollination. Crampton was a good developer, but more notably he was a standout marketer in a world that required cross-functional fluency. Coughlin was successful at sales but exceptional at bringing customer focus to a small, entrepreneurial business.
Designer and strategist Adam Richardson discovered his disruptive strength early. In the 1990s, working at Sun Microsystems in his first job as an industrial designer, he realized that firsthand knowledge of customers’ needs was missing from many designers’ tool kits. He, by contrast, wasn’t the strongest stylist but was enthralled with market research and good at capturing it. (Consider that at age 6 he was sketching designs for cars; by age 9, he was surveying neighbors about their driving habits and measuring their car interiors.)
“I’m a good listener, and I like finding patterns in chaotic qualitative data,” he explains. He looked for a graduate program to help him hone those skills, but because popular ones like IIT, in Illinois, and Stanford’s Graduate School of Design didn’t exist then, he ended up cobbling together a course for himself via the University of Chicago’s self-directed Master of Arts Program in the Humanities. He veered from the traditional industrial design path to study anthropology, ethnography, sociology, cultural theory, and art history—disciplines that are now the bedrock of his work that blends design with customer insights and product strategy.
Consider also Gregory Sorensen, who resigned his positions as codirector of Massachusetts General Hospital’s biomedical imaging center and as a professor of radiology and health sciences at Harvard Medical School to become CEO of Siemens Healthcare North America. Sorensen was well established in his medical and academic career when he discovered that his particular strengths matched up well with the needs of Siemens. Sorensen wasn’t a salesman or a seasoned business executive, but he was a respected doctor who had deep knowledge of health care equipment and understood how to manage an organization. A few colleagues at Harvard and Mass General questioned his decision, but Sorensen embraced the disruption. He realized it would allow him to use his distinctive skills in a new, potentially more rewarding way.
3. Step back (or sideways) in order to grow.Just as a company’s survival depends on revenue growth, an individual’s well-being depends on learning and advancement. When organizations get too big, they stop exploring smaller, riskier but perhaps more lucrative markets because the resulting revenues won’t affect their bottom line enough. Just as Borders was slow to embrace e-commerce in the bookselling industry, where it had been successful, people who rise to a certain tier in their careers may allow themselves to plateau. Personal growth often stalls at the top of a classic S curve. Disrupters avoid that problem by jumping to a new role, industry, or type of organization and putting themselves on an entirely different growth trajectory.
Adam Richardson did just that when he quit his Sun Microsystems job to enroll in a graduate program unknown to people in his industry. So did Liz Brown, when she left her hard-won job as a law firm partner. And let’s not forget Clay Christensen, who at age 40 left a corporate career at a materials science company to pursue his doctorate at Harvard Business School. That “step down” allowed him to develop a theory that has changed the business world and has thrust him into an extremely successful career as a teacher, consultant, and investor.
Disrupting yourself doesn’t have to mean leaving your organization, however. Take IDEO executive Dave Blakely, who has been with the design consultancy for two decades but worked his way up in a decidedly unconventional manner. A software engineer with a master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, he could have built a successful career in his core area of expertise, perhaps eventually moving to a similar role at another Silicon Valley firm or working his way up to manage technical staff. Instead, Blakely volunteered to become a project manager at IDEO. His peers dismissed the new job as an escape from the rigor and detail of engineering. But the backward move allowed Blakely to broaden his skills and get comfortable with a more diverse group of colleagues, including executives. He started climbing a new ladder and is now head of technology strategy at IDEO. Alex McClung, the health care executive with 15 job changes behind him, has had a similar experience. “The sideways moves accelerated my career by five years or more each time,” he says. “Sideways always turns into a slingshot.”

No comments:

Post a Comment