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3 Ways Companies Can Leverage Disruption for Business Growth

Now is a good time for business leaders to remind themselves that a simple shift in mentality can mean the difference between slipping further into difficulty or rising to new heights.

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Disruption in is inevitable. In the same way that our personal lives are constantly and unpredictably changing, the business environment is continuously evolving with the introduction of new products and services. In some cases, we hail disruption as groundbreaking, incredible or the product of genius. In others, we perceive it as ominous or threatening. However, it’s not circumstances that cement the legacy of a company but rather how that company manages them. In other words, we define disruption — and what it yields is up to us.

Carol Dweck’s growth mindset theory famously offers insight into this process, examining how success (and failure) can be influenced by attitude. When faced with a challenge, do we see it as a problem or as an opportunity to learn and grow? Embracing the latter perspective doesn’t always come naturally, but with practice, it can be a crucial business advantage. As we continue to navigate the fallout of the pandemic, it’s a good time for business leaders to remind themselves that a simple shift in mentality can mean the difference between slipping further into difficulty or rising to new heights.

Related: 7 Tips for Managing Workplace Disruption and Maximizing Remote Workers

The bright side of disruption

There are numerous ways for companies to leverage disruption in their favor. Methods may vary between organizations and industries. However, three clear examples of strategies from which all companies can benefit emerge when we look at the most fundamental aspects of business growth — , profitability and customer satisfaction.

Here are the three best practices for companies looking to leverage disruption for business growth:

1. Adopt a human-centric approach to business

Every business is the sum of its internal and external parts — from customers, investors and suppliers to employees and end-users. Without all of these people, a company cannot exist. What this means is that the primary effects of disruption are to the people that make up the organization, not the business itself. To manage the effects of disruption in an opportunistic way, leaders should examine what they mean for everyone in the organization.

In doing so, they can identify areas — including employee well-being, customer relief or partner loyalty — in which a heightened focus may yield exponential results. Substantial evidence supports the benefits of a human-centric approach to business, and periods of disruption are an excellent chance to realign operations and policies along that axis.

Related: How to Adapt in a Rapidly Changing Economy

2. Investigate and redefine customer experiences

Whether it occurs inside a single organization, across an entire industry or on a global scale, disruption inherently causes shifts in customers’ behaviors and expectations. Whereas businesses with a “fixed mindset” tend to focus only on the immediate, negative effects, those with a growth mindset will treat the disruption as an opportunity to define new customer needs and proactively solve for them.

3. Update your business strategy

Disruptions may come in the form of viruses, new technologies or upstart competitors, just to name a few. Their common denominator is change, and that change can affect both the basis and feasibility of a given strategy. While a company’s service mission may remain the same, its specific plans for accomplishing that mission should be regularly updated to reflect current possibilities. Product, supply, distribution,  and infrastructure needs can all evolve rapidly against the backdrop of a major disruption, making it the ideal time to review business models and prioritize any necessary changes.

Related: Apply Incremental Innovation to Cope With the Crisis

Final words

Disruption causes the future to feel uncertain but inevitably produces net positive gains within markets and economies. With these come opportunities for individual companies to grow and adapt. Through that process, businesses and brands can become stronger and increase their capacity to serve. Leaders who embrace this potential within their organizations can catalyze innovation, foster growth and create a positive legacy.

Sathish Muthukrishnan

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Sathish Muthukrishnan is the chief information, data and digital officer for Ally Financial. Muthukrishnan advances Ally's technical and digital capabilities and accelerates the company's growth and evolution as a leader in the digital financial-services sector.