The past year has been tough for many businesses, but as restrictions ease, now is the time to really think about the future and what the new opportunities will be post lockdown.
What is disruptive leadership?
Disruptive leaders have ambitious goals and a vision of how to get there. I have seen them transform large businesses during my time at Britvic, Tesco and Sainsbury. I’ve also seen it happen at the smaller businesses I’ve worked with at People Puzzles. Some of my clients have managed to grow this past year despite lockdown, because they’ve had the vision to diversify to move into growing markets when their main line of business was threatened.
How do they do it?
In my experience, disruptive leadership starts with the business owner asking themselves: What are the new opportunities? What can we do with our current capabilities? Where is the white space in the market? Questions like these can help you define a new vision or goal that will potentially transform your company and potentially disrupt the market with a game-changing new product or technology.
Creating a new business strategy and mobilising your top team
New goals require new business plans, so once the goal is defined, you then need a business plan showing how to get there. Your top team will need to work together strategically to drive the plan forward. Do they have the commitment and desire to drive this disruption? And if they don’t share your enthusiasm, are they the right person for your team?
Building the right skills
As well as enthusiasm you also need capability – if you don’t have it right now, you’ll need to recruit or develop those skills in house. When, according to your business plan, do you need to have those skills in place? Is there enough time to develop a member of staff or do you need to recruit?
Creating space for disruptive leadership
I’ve also found that disruptive leaders need space to work on the business rather than in it. This means building capability in their managers so the business can be run without constant supervision or intervention. This is not always easy – many business owners find it hard to delegate the running of their business, but if they want to lead from the front and pursue new opportunities, they need to step back from the day-to-day.
Bringing everyone on board
The final piece in the puzzle is making sure everyone else in the business is excited and engaged with the new company goals. This is all about communicating your vision to them and empowering them to play their part in achieving it. But it doesn’t happen overnight; getting everyone to pull in the same direction takes time and effort.
Disruptive leaders need support
A good People Director can help to create the right conditions for disruptive leadership. On a practical level they can help with the people issues, such as developing and recruiting talent, and building an energised work culture.
But it’s not just about people issues – having additional director-level support can boost the leadership team and support the business strategy. A People Director can also provide that vital challenge to the business owner to move beyond the day-to-day running of their business and focus on the opportunities that lie ahead.
If you need help creating the right conditions for disruptive leadership within your business that drives your ambitious business goals and visions forward with success, get in touch on 0203 239 3307 or email [email protected]
Shaun O’Hara, People Director