Four Ways To Successfully Surf Waves of Disruption

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Jon Kabatt-Zinn

In this era of hyper-accelerating waves of technology-enabled disruption, companies and institutions need to have a well-designed surfboard. The most successful companies have already implemented and are leveraging recent disruptive technologies such as mobile, sharing platforms and “internet of things.” Because the waves are coming faster and faster, the urgency is increasing for organizations to design, implement, and scale at an ever-quickening pace.

  1. Process has moved from important to paramount. If a company truly has quality, effective and efficient processes, they can realize increased profitability, faster time-to-market and customer satisfaction. Ergo if a company’s processes are better than its competitors, then this becomes a competitive advantage. Further, process improvement is not once and done. Managers need to become “process owners” whose objectives include quantitative and qualitative continuous improvement to the functions for which they are accountable.
  2. Talent is a critical success factor. Never has the human resources function been more important; it must move from being transactional to strategic. It’s not enough to satisfy employees, they must be engaged. And for critical talent, like certain information technology roles, you simply can’t skimp on compensation and environment (including flexible work arrangements). Investing millions in tech-enabled disruption? Need to have the quality talent to work on the design and implementation.
  3. Spark more innovation by fostering selected aspects of an entrepreneurial culture (unless you are a start-up, then I guess go for it). A Forbes study of entrepreneurs revealed that top successful characteristics are work ethic, resilience, positivity, and passion. Some of the least common traits:  influential, frugality, detailed, and caring. Be careful to foster what works: for innovation to scale, detail and finances do matter, and “caring” absolutely matters if you want to retain customers and talent.
  4. As the waves crash faster and faster, don’t forget who you are. Not every disruption is of equal value to your particular industry and organization. Processes, technology and people can and will iterate and change; this expends capital (time and money) so important to know how to select and sequence related investments. And while change accelerates, important to stay true to mission, vision and values as consistent foundations.

“Your surfing can get better on every turn, on every wave you catch. Learn to read the ocean better. A big part of my success has been wave knowledge.” Kelly Slater

Worth mentioning:

There’s a debate going on as to when and how robotics will influence jobs. Research by MIT and Boston University indicates over 650,000 jobs have already been affected by robots, largely in the manufacturing sector.

Internet privacy was a hot topic this week as the House of Representatives voted Tuesday to allow internet service providers (ISPs) to sell information about consumers’ browsing history without their knowledge or consent.

April Fools Day is upon us …. it’s a good time to beware of cyber-jokes and cybersecurity threats. (Remember last year’s Google debacle?) Also, the weather gods are seeing fit to play a huge joke on northern New England by dumping 6 – 10 inches of snow. I expect to see Game of Throne’s White Walkers anytime now.


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