Disruptive Leadership: The New Model for Business
21 March 2017
The political landscape across the world has, in recent times, caused many to scratch their heads in confusion or roar in triumph. Divisions have spanned across entire continents as Donald Trump took office, Brexit was heralded in and another Scottish independence referendum was mooted.
Not even the most astute of political analysts could have foretold the shockwaves that have echoed across newsrooms and households internationally. There seems to be a great deal of uncertainty about the future; businesses are, in some cases, more reluctant to commit and employees are worried about what will happen to their hard earned.
But, these times of great socioeconomic and political disruption have given way to one positive – an increasing trend for disruptive business models that have propelled themselves to phenomenal success.
Companies that would not have existed - or would have struggled and failed - ten to fifteen years ago are suddenly finding themselves flourishing.
We’re talking about apps and websites such as Spotify, Air BnB, Uber, Netflix, Tinder and so on. Most of which, we hasten to add, were started off by one person (or a small group of people) sitting in their room with a laptop and a desire to do things differently.
Think about it: Back in, say, 2000, could you have imagined calling a cab (that isn’t even a proper taxi) through an app on your phone? Who would have thought that ‘lonely hearts’ columns would become a multi-million pound internet phenomenon where you can literally find singles less than a few miles away? And did you ditch your MP3 player to stream music through your phone?
Air BnB took one of the oldest industries – hotels – and turned it on its head. It’s the world’s biggest leisure and travel accommodation provider and yet it doesn’t actually own any real estate. We’re literally paying for a sleepover in someone else’s house.
It would seem that political uncertainty has brought out the capitalist in us. Whilst some individuals and firms are seeking to be much more cautious, many are taking advantage of the somewhat fluid nature of the global economy.
If businessman Donald Trump can be leader of the free world, why can’t your business stretch all over the world?
Perhaps the political climate of ‘who knows what we’ll wake up to next’ has inspired many to ditch their day job and become a self-starter. With many countries, America being the main example, rejecting the so-called establishment or ‘norm’, many plucky entrepreneurs are applying that same strategy to their business plan and industry. They’re defying expectations.
Notice how many of these businesses serve a leisure or entertainment purpose – they’re selling escapism from the everyday. Businesses that follow a more traditional model face two choices: Invest in similar tech or rail against the trends and hope that they will pass in more settled times.
With continuing debate surrounding Brexit and Scottish independence – and at least four years of Trump rule – who knows what other new and challenging businesses will emerge?
Despite the ambiguity that much of the world’s population face in terms of what the future holds, entrepreneurs seem to be seizing the opportunity to do something truly different. It’s not so much anti-establishment as it is pro-disruption and challenging ideas.
Uncertainty is the new certainty. The business world is changing. Are you?
Written By Barry Lee