Be a Better Business Leader: Disrupt Yourself - Modern Distribution Management

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Be a Better Business Leader: Disrupt Yourself

Don't wait in the wings for someone to disrupt you.

Business disruptions are everywhere. They're coming from new competitors (on- and offline), from your customers and even from your channel partners. One of the best ways to respond to this culture of disruption, according to Mark Sanborn, president, Sanborn & Associates Inc., is to disrupt yourself first.

Disruption and discomfort are effective for bringing positive change to a company, Sanborn says in 6 Steps to Become a Better Business Leader. Think critically about how your business operates and be willing to try new things. Not everything will work, but on the other hand you may miss a homerun if you never try.

Sanborn says to "think like Rodin." The artist’s famous sculpture, The Thinker, depicts a man in a contemplative position. But mimicking the subject’s pose by placing your right elbow on your left knee – which is more difficult than it sounds, Sanborn notes – implies that thinking about any task should be uncomfortable.

And remember that “ideas trump technology,” says Sanborn. It doesn't have to be a grand high-tech feature that will make a big difference. For upscale fashion retailer Nordstrom, for example, it was employing a piano player. When customers shop elsewhere, they might notice the absence of something – the piano music isn't there – that doesn't create the same atmosphere that they experience at Nordstrom. A small, indirect service provides that added draw.

Figure out what your "piano effect" is. What service do you offer customers so that even if they try a competitor, they quickly want to return?

Small things can have a big difference, but you must be willing to get out of your day-to-day rut. What you've been doing may still work, but it's probably far less effective than it once was. If you don't disrupt yourself, someone else will do it for you. When that happens, you'll find yourself with far less control over the outcome.

Get more tips for improving your business in 6 Steps to Become a Better Business Leader.

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