Rock The Boat: How to Apply "Disruption" at Your Business and Empower Your Team

Business.com / Managing / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Your business may need a revival. Here are some ways to boost your office attitude and bring in some fresh ideas.

Are you the type of business owner who strives to keep things the same?

Maybe you're not really a fan of too much change.

Or, are you the type who realizes the benefits of a “boat rocking” every now and again?

You're not afraid to go against the grain and even question your own authority?

On the surface, disrupting something sounds like a bad proposition. It sounds like something that could turn your company upside down. However, with the right approach, this doesn’t have to be true. 

Related Article: Does Your Company Need a Digital Makeover?

For example, it's been noted that in 2000 Apple employee John Casey emailed drawings of what he called the Telipod. Before you knew it, patents were being filed and Steve put a huge team of people on Project Purple. Today we have the iPhone as a result. And this all from a desktop computer company!

Before we go any further, let’s examine the basic definition of disrupting in the business world: to radically change (an industry, business strategy, etc.), as by introducing a new product or service that creates a new market. Who, sounds good to me, I mean isn't Techcrunch's Disrupt a conference to push the ability to think different?

Let's take a look at Netflix's decision to charge for their free streaming service and make the move to subscription pricing for streaming. It was great for a number of customers and not so great for others. Did Reed Hastings rock the boat? You bet. He got customer backlash and for a period of time less subscriber growth but look at how successful they've become! 

From employees to clients, people don’t like to be taken out of their comfort zone. By nature, most people settle into a comfort zone and are okay with remaining there indefinitely. It is your job to pull them out of their shell. It is your job to push them to new heights and challenge them as well as yourself to thinking in a new way about your business.

Three Ways to Rock the Boat

If you are ready to do it if you are ready to rock the boat, it's imperative that you take the right approach. Here are three ideas to consider:

1. Complete the necessary research beforehand

In other words, don’t jump into an idea just because it sounds good in your mind. Before you do something that will impact others, you need to consider the pros, cons, and your overall approach. Make sure you take a deep look at your competition, your industry and what's going on in the market. It's all a part of the equation. 

Tip: Bounce your ideas off of a lot of people in your network, including coworkers, clients, and industry professionals, two or three people won't cut it. If you can, send a survey with questions relating to your new ideas, you may be surprised at the answers.

2. Encourage others to think the same way

You don’t want to be the person making all the changes. Everything may run through you as the business owner, but you want to get others involved.

Tip: Hold a meeting to explain your ideas and to hear what others are thinking. Don’t be surprised if you hear something that puts a smile on your face. You may soon realize that others have wanted to disrupt things as well, but were simply waiting for permission to take the initiative.  

3. Track Results

You can shake things up as much as you want, but don’t fall short when it comes to tracking the good and bad. Did your idea generate a positive response? Did it backfire? Either way you need to own the results and define what you want to do from there.

Tip: Before you implement a new idea, answer this question: how are you going to track the effectiveness? If you don’t have an answer, step back before moving forward. Implement ways that you can definitively track whether it's a good outcome or you need to go back to the drawing board.

When you rock the boat, something will happen (good or bad). You need to track the results, tweak your plan as needed, and continue to monitor the situation.

Related Article: Can an Office Makeover Affect Employee Productivity?

Win in the End

When you first take this approach, it is only natural to be scared. It'll feel like you have lost some control. It may even feel like you made a big mistake.

What matters most is that you learn something in the end. Many companies have reached the top because they dared to be different. They were willing to think outside the box, even if this meant a strategy that appeared to be all wrong.

You should allow yourself to rock it. You should do the same with your team members. By doing this, fresh ideas will flow and your company will be in a position to achieve greater results. And that is what you want, right?  

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