Let's talk about disruption.
First, a definition: Disruption is a significant shift in the way a company historically operates in order to create new efficiencies or a radically improved product, service or customer experience. And every organization can reap its benefits. All you have to do is start thinking like an outsider and looking at your business from a different angle.
My co-founders and I started Amerisleep because we knew that mattress stores underserved their customers. Rather than build a big retail business, we decided instead to sell direct-to-consumer and online--and that's what we did for the better part of a decade.
We were one of the first companies to build an e-commerce only mattress brand. This allowed us to minimize our overhead costs and pass those savings onto customers. Of course, we knew we had to keep innovating, even if it meant disrupting our existing business model.
In recent years, one thing became clear to us: To further enhance the customer experience, we'd have to establish a retail footprint. Last year, we've executed on that initiative, opening stores across the U.S., Australia and South Korea which are both popular among local consumers and, more importantly, profitable.
We reworked our business model to adapt to changing consumer preferences and consistently hit our growth goals. You, too, can benefit when you seek out opportunities to disrupt your own company.
Disrupt with a purpose.
Perhaps because of the word itself, some people get the idea that disruption creates problems and chaos. Although that may be true in some cases, deliberate disruption is purpose-driven, disciplined and goal-oriented.
It's great to try new ideas, even when you are unsure of what the impact will be. Of course, it's important to think about all of the potential implications before you pull the trigger.
Does the move make sense according to your mission? Does it improve your ability to engage with your customers, your employees or your other partners in some way?
Ultimately, you want to build something that aligns with your brand values and enhances the customer experience.
View the customer experience from a new perspective.
Chances are good that your customer experience is ripe for disruption. Research from Gartner reveals 89 percent of companies believe they are now competing to deliver better customer experiences. However, their performances often fall short, leaving users underwhelmed and unimpressed.
The customer relationship is composed of so many different facets and interactions that it doesn't take much for a situation to change significantly. An earlier, tried-and-true strategy can quickly turn stagnant because of a shift in customer attitudes and behaviors or a new development in the marketplace.
If you're starting to notice gaps in your customer satisfaction performance, do what a disruptor would do: Audit your entire process and identify new ways to deliver happiness.
Empower your team to be disruptors.
Creating a culture where people feel empowered to introduce innovative ideas begins at the top. As a leader, you have to set an example and encourage your employees to look for ways in which they can disrupt their own teams and processes and drive meaningful change.
Be receptive when your managers come to you with ideas that could shake up the status quo, and encourage them to do the same for their direct reports. Create a culture where all ideas are considered and investigated for feasibility.
When it's logistically possible, give your team members trial periods to test their ideas. Afterwards, carefully measure and evaluate the results for long-term return on investment.