More than ever before, well-established companies are succumbing to disruption from new entrants, technologies and customer expectations. So how do companies not only survive but thrive in these most challenging of times?

At EmpowerCX 2019 Americas, bestselling author, public speaker and Principal Analyst of Futurum Research Daniel Newman shared his vision for organizations that are serious about disrupting the disruptors and making their business futureproof.

More changes more often

It’s not simply that disruption is happening. Throughout business history, there have been paradigm changes leaving incumbents behind and opening the door to new businesses that could see the change and act on it.

What is different today is that the rate of change is unprecedented.

“The time we have between change and the requirements for change in our business is growing shorter and shorter,” explains Newman. “What we’re finding is an exponential shortening of the length of time between each next disruption.”

Therefore there is no time for leaders to feel comfortable in their surroundings. Businesses that feel at ease, doing what they’re doing in their marketplace will be the first to be disrupted.

“Whatever you’re doing today, you cannot be too comfortable because you have to be able to change faster,” Neman warns. “It’s the only way to survive and thrive in the age of disruption and digital transformation.”

And because the time between changes is getting shorter, it means that this behavior – the ability to react to these disruptions has to be constant.

“You have to change and when you learn how to do that continuously you can go from being a company that’s just coasting with the market to one that’s creating and changing the market,” Newman says.  

Click here to find 5 ways to build a CX strategy that will Disrupt the Competition, Not Your Customers

Putting people first

Newman’s organization, Futurum Research + Analysis has conducted research and has surveyed thousands of businesses and the results don’t lie. Those companies that have a people-first approach are the ones that are successfully transforming their businesses to deal with disruption.

Your people are the embodiment of your culture and whether or not your company can meet the next challenge will be decided by how connected your employees feel. Businesses need to innovate and too many leaders can be guilty of thinking innovation is a piece of technology you buy from an external vendor.

“A lot of the best ideas and innovations come from inside companies, from the employees,” highlights Newman. “A lot of cultures in businesses stop people from participating in the innovation process. When companies recognize and reward the people who innovate you create great companies full of innovation.”

Transformation comes from the top

The modern CEO needs to be comfortable with feeling constantly uncomfortable and must put the employee experience on a par with the customer experience. But they also have to be bold.

“The leaders who are futureproofing their businesses have a couple of key beliefs in common,” says Newman. “They believe in balancing humility and humanity and risk taking and rule breaking.”

And unless the CEO is fully committed to the project, undergoing a business transformation is a huge risk.

“It can’t be delegated into the organization. The leadership team needs to be involved but if the CEO isn’t standing behind them discussing the subject, the project will fail,” Newman warns. “The CEO must be the real chief digital transformation officer.”

Change is about culture and culture is about people. Technology can help a business transform but it starts with a CEO driving a message that his or her people believe and want to buy into. That begins the development of a new business culture that can cope with change and can thrive in periods of disruption and this is crucial because as Newman points out, soon there will be two types of company: “Those that are futureproof and those that are future poof!”

Watch Newman’s full keynote here.


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