Regardless of how you voted, were you blindsided by the outcome? Have you been asking, "How did this happen?"
There is a very simple answer to this question: Competitor underestimation. This happens all the time in business.
As a 20+ year business owner, I've been on both sides of the equation. When my first company Information Experts won its first contract with Department of Education 15 years ago, we unseated an 11-year incumbent. We had very little government experience and no agency experience, but the customer had grown tired of its current vendor, and the vendor became complacent. So, we took a shot. No one was more surprised than us that we won. Sound familiar?
The outcome of this election can be boiled down to the three laws of disruption that govern every industry:
Complacency is one of the biggest warnings that change is coming. Years and years of "more of the same" opens the door for change.
As customers grow increasingly frustrated with "more of the same," the become more vocal with their opinions, and open to alternative solutions.
As Luke Williams describes, in his book, "Disrupt: Think The Unthinkable To Spark Transformation In Your Business," there are 4 types of tension points that indicate people are fed up with the current environment, and disruption is right around the corner:
- Workarounds: They don't address the actual problem; just the problems that the problem causes. Workarounds are band-aids that temporarily stop a hemorrhage.
- Values: Tension arises when a situation directly conflicts with a person's values.
- Inertia: Inertia arises when a population stays with the status quo because it's too painful to change, rather than staying because they like their choice.
- Shoulds versus Wants: This is a universal struggle. "Do I pick the choice I want or do I pick the choice I need?" When people struggle with this choice, it is only a matter of time before the "should" overrules the "want."
Politics is no different than any other industry.
The automotive industry.
The hospitality industry.
The transportation industry.
The aerospace industry.
Other Industries Ready to Be Blindsided
The Internet of Things (IoT) is disrupting every industry imaginable, from health & fitness to home maintenance & automation:
As evidenced by FitBit and the Apple Watch, wearables are becoming a natural extension of our daily lives. Wearables allow us to track virtually anything through automated sensors.
Re-stocking & replenishment.
Doesn't it make you crazy when you're in the middle of printing an important document and you run out of ink? Imagine if your ink cartridge had a sensor that automatically ordered a new cartridge when the levels dropped to a certain point based on your personal usage.
Health & well-being.
Personal health care is ripe for disruption, especially for consumers who must track specific stats to stay alive, such as blood sugar, blood pressure, and heart rate. A family friend lost their 14-year old daughter to a diabetic coma 5 years ago. I often wonder if she would be alive today if wearable glucose sensors could have sounded an alarm when her sugar dropped while she was sleeping.
Dating, Sex, and Finding Your Soulmate.
40 million Americans use online dating services (approximately 40% of the single population in the U.S.). This is an industry that has experienced tremendous disruption, but it's only the beginning.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology, machine learning, and augmented reality (AR) are slowly making their way into this $2.4 billion market, and will forever change the landscape of how we meet our perfect matches.
Politics is Just Business as Usual
As you can see, Trump's victory, while surprising, was not truly extraordinary.
Can You Disrupt Your Market?
Every experience offers a personal, applicable learning opportunity, and this is no different.
Leadership expert Peter Diamandis identified the three questions you can ask to identify opportunities disruption in your market:
- How could my company's underlying assets be used differently to solve problems that impact a billion people, and align with your passion?
- Who in your supply chain is not meeting the needs of its customers, and could you do a better job by developing that business?
- What else do your customers need, where are they under-served, and how could you solve their problems?
It's time to stop asking, "how did this happen?" Rather, ask yourself, "how can I pull off the same level of disruption?" The opportunities for change are everywhere.