Disruption. The thing every entrepreneur dreams about achieving. Should you even care about disruption? Will you ever be able to disrupt your industry? What happens to your business and your life if you do?
Take Casey Crawford, the CEO of Movement Mortgage, for example. After his first mortgage company failed, he decided to start a second one. Undeterred by the challenging market conditions of 2008, Crawford and his team slugged along to create a company that made an impact on their community. In these early years, Crawford saw an opportunity to better help clients by changing the mortgage process. They defined a mortgage experience that was simple and enjoyable from beginning to end. Movement Mortgage created a 7 Day Mortgage process that ensured closing documents were complete weeks before closing in order to avoid the last minute craziness.
Today Movement is an Inc. 5000 company as the 6th largest loan originator in the United States--and it has one of the best corporate cultures in the country.
Crawford and Movement are proof that disruption and innovation don't always have to come in the form of brand hardware, software, or some new gadget (although it certainly can)
Clayton Christensen brought the idea of disruption to the forefront in his 1997 book The Innovator's Dilemma by introducing the concept of "disruptive innovation." In the book, he describes how small companies with limited resources were able to enter a market and displace an established system. Christensen's theory has evolved over the last twenty years. Today I love the way Tony Robbins describes it,
"Innovation is any way you find a way to do more for clients than anybody else does."
So how do you or your organization go about figuring out how to be more disruptive or innovative?
Guy Kawasaki, author, Silicon Valley Investor and entrepreneur taught some incredible lessons about the keys to disruption in New York at the Synergy Global Conference this past weekend.
Here are 3 of my favorites:
Don't ask customers. The story of Henry Ford tells you all you need to know about this. He said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." While it's important to keep your focus on the customer, asking them what they want probably won't produce disruptive thinking.
Polarize people. Too often people are afraid to take a stance on their position in fear of what other people will think. Colin Cowherd, the best sportscaster on the radio says, "I tell young aspiring sportscasters all the time don't be afraid to do the research and have an opinion." The minute you have people who love and hate your product or business you know you are onto to something.
Niche thyself. In today's complex business world it's easy to try and be everything to everybody. Just yesterday I was sitting in a restaurant that was trying to be a grocery store, coffee bar, lunch spot, dinner spot, and bar. It's hard enough to get one of those things right, much less all four. There is absolutely nothing wrong with carving out a niche and owning it. Over time, you will introduce more capabilities or products to the equation, but be patient and find your niche.
Should you still dream about disrupting or innovating? Of course, you should. Just keep in mind, your disruption and innovation can come from markets that already exists or industries you currently work in. And keep these words from Kawasaki in mind: "Disruption is a process, not an event."