Women In Business

How to be a disruptor while surrounded by the disrupted

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The world of business, indeed the world in general, is constantly changing and evolving. Disruption is the buzzword on everyones lips right now.

Why is it that so many of us are resistant to it? We try to fit in rather than stand out. Bury our heads in the sand with our colleagues and those around us. All the while, it feels like everything else from technology to our competitors is evolving.

It isn’t easy to be the black sheep. It can be hard to get excited about changes in technology and industry when those changes are fraught with mystery and uncertainty.

As a success coach, I see this coming up more and more often for my clients. The people I work with are unsure about their purpose in this ever changing landscape and fears of redundancy are omnipresent.

The rules and the name of the game are changing.

There is good news though – you don’t need be the disrupted, a victim of the uncertainty.

With a change of mindset and a little bit of knowledge, you can choose instead to be a disruptor.

Disruption: a refresher

The word disruption is used so often at the moment, it’s easy to forget what it’s actually all about.

In business, we are referring to when a market is created where none existed before which “disrupts” an existing market.

My favourite example is the Blockbuster/Netflix Saga. I worked at a Blockbuster as a teen and it makes me a little sad that Blockbuster didn’t see this coming. A visit to the video store on a Saturday night is now a thing of distant memory all because the major player in the video rental market did not anticipate where the future of watching movies was going.

It’s a pipe dream, sure – but I do like to imagine that if Blockbuster had set up their own streaming service, there would still be gold and blue castles of movie greatness on some street corners today. But because Netflix was able to anticipate the market and Blockbuster decided to be a stick in the mud – it was too late them and my dreams.

So, what’s happening out there?

Disruption in many cases today means automation.

This is changing the job market dramatically. Some industries are being hit harder than others, but ultimately, according to a 2013 University of Oxford Study, it is predicted that 47% of jobs in the US are under threat of automation in the next two decades.

One example is driving. It’s anticipated that Taxi, Uber and Truck drivers will be wiped out by automation in the coming years.

That said, jobs will of course in turn then be created in emerging technologies and other similar fields. And of course, there are the jobs that an algorithm simply can’t replace – those requiring creativity, think film & TV, and of course, caring – being health professionals and those in disability and aged care.

And what can I do about it?

We can’t change what’s happening – but we can adapt and look fo new opportunities. What do those opportunities look like? You’re not just restricted to emerging tech, creative industries and health services. Now might be an amazing time for you to strike out on your own.

There are more and more opportunities for freelancers being created daily – it’s just a matter of seeking them out and maybe even creating some of your own. Could you be a blogger? Online course creator and educator? Drop-shipper? The age of the digital nomad is upon us and if you look hard enough, is in full swing.

Remember the story, “Our Iceberg Is Melting!”? On the surface, it’s a sweet story about a small colony of penguins with a big problem. When you get into it though, it’s a really great commentary about the fear of change (disruption?) and how to motivate people to take action and face their fears and future.

Like the penguins in the story, we need to do away with our traditional ways of thinking. We must be open to possibility, ready to try new things and step outside our comfort zone.

Maybe you don’t want to change careers right now though. Or maybe you own a business or work in an industry you love and are reality passionate about. What is the antidote?

We must keep a keen eye out for signs of disruption around us, in our workplaces and in our businesses. We do not want to become the next Blockbuster!

We must know our clients better than they know themselves. We must be able to anticipate what they need before they even know they need it. Further than that, we must know our competition even better than our clients. Because as we know, if we don’t take care of our clients – someone else will.

Remember, the key to being the disruptor is to know your industry, know your clients and know how your world is going to be effected by advancements in technology.

Don’t be afraid to be the disruptor, the black sheep.

They are the ones having all the fun and making all the money.

About Amanda Louise

Amanda Louise is a Badass Success Coach, Speaker, Author and filmmaker hailing from Brisbane, Australia. She’s always been a Black Sheep and is incredibly passionate about helping her clients fulfil their ultimate potential and live their best lives - just by being themselves! She lives by the philosophy that life is not a drill - we only get one chance, so we have to make every minute count. Having worked in sales and media & having undertaken extensive learning in the fields of business, media, communications and most importantly - life strategy - she brings a unique mix of education and life experience to every interaction.You can get your hands on her first book, Be The Black Sheep: A Guide To Living Outside The Box: The Keys To Your Best Life & True Destiny, HERE. You can visit her website HERE and her Facebook page HERE.

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