Posted on: Jul 09, 2018
Dramatic changes mean old things go away and new things replace them in a cycle of continuous change. Creative destruction is a popular term used to convey this idea applied to economic cycles. Creative destruction becomes more obvious when things change quickly as they have the last 15 years as change has become disruptive, unpredictable, and rocket-fueled.
Why does this idea matter? In the cycle of business life and death, you want to be on the life end. You could be making a mistake, however, if you are trying to "manage disruptions." You can’t, but it doesn't stop people from selling you training that will help you "manage disruptive trends." While you may be comfortable applying favorite, feel-good business verbs like "manage" and "control" to this rapid change, there are other verbs that will give you much more success. If you see manage and disruption used together, likely the writer doesn't understand what creative destruction really is. Turbulent, creative destruction is fast, unpredictable, erratic, with starts and stops and unintended consequences. You can't manage this type of force any more than you can manage the lava flows from the Kilauea Volcano. Here are some verbs you can put in front of creative destruction that will give you a chance to survive and thrive.
Study creative destruction - discuss and gather data so you understand emerging trends affecting your business. Don't wait until you get complete data. Instead, gather information quickly and discuss potential “what-if” scenarios because the earlier you can understand what is being destroyed, the faster you can adapt and be part of creating something new.
Surf creative destruction - adapt your business structure, products, and people development to stay relevant and above the turbulent waters of the change. Look for low-cost, fast ways to trial new products and services that may look crazy now but might just be the key to success later. Develop and reward leaders who can surf. You need people with creativity, grit, and guts who can make decisions without extensive study and recover or change direction quickly.
Exploit creative destruction - look for new opportunities, new markets, and ways to adapt what you already do to fit emerging needs better.