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Here's 3 Things You Can Do With Talent Claiming "Disruptor" Status...

If you're in the business of thinking about management and leadership, you'll get this post.

We love to celebrate the disruptors, right?  Big ideas, crazy results, etc. Rainman

Of course, the dirty little secret is that we only love the disruptors that don't get capped at the knees by the cultures they are trying to change.  The disruptors who don't make it?  We hate them.

We only celebrate the disruptors who make it.  The ones who don't are freaks/abnormals/cancers.  To tell the difference, you probably need to focus on the ideas rather than the behavior.

On my mind today related to this great post on LinkedIn by Bob Lyons (read it all, but here's a snippet):

"The legend of Steve Jobs is immortal. There have been countless articles, books and movies made about him and the way he founded and ran Apple. He was such a hard ass, he got fired from his own company in 1985. The establishment people he personally hired and surrounded himself with said they wanted him out. These were not strangers he inherited. How bad did it have to be for that to happen? In 1997 , on the verge of bankruptcy, Apple acquired the company Jobs created and made him CEO once again. Shortly after, products like the iPod, and iPhone started to hit the market. Apple even created a phenomenal customer centric experience through its Apple Stores unlike any consumers had experienced before (and some say since). Jobs certainly goes down as one of the great disruptors of our time, but going through it during its formative years was considered "hell on earth."

Bob's got some other great examples in his post so go check it out.

I'll leave you with this from my notebook after thinking about Bob's post:

Shit stirrer + no good ideas = fire immediately.

Shit stirrer + good ideas = incubate from rest of company and find mentor to round the corners.  Fire later if experiment fails in epic fashion.

Shit stirrer + good ideas + ability to execute through others = execute employment contract and find handler similar to Tom Cruise handling Dustin Hoffman in Rainman.

KD out.

Comments

Kim aka ranavain

This is such an interesting question to me. Ultimately, the problem I've seen most, with regard to innovation or disruption, is that what most companies want is a idea that lets them mostly continue to do all the things they already do, in the way they're doing them, but somehow magically makes everything much better.

In order to be disruptive, you have to be willing to invest in things that might not pan out. Or, you have to completely change something you're doing to get a totally different result from it. Both things are uncomfortable for most companies, just by the nature of capitalism and corporation.

Honestly, it also requires being willing to take big risks on talent. I don't think it's a coincidence that a lot of the people we think of as innovators today got there by starting their own company. It's really, really hard to start and run a company! The fact that so many innovators, who often do not have any particular executive skill or inclination, find it *easier* to start a company with their ideas than to get some middle-management jerk (or hiring manager) to actually take their idea seriously is nuts.

But people who have million-dollar ideas aren't always the kind of people that will quietly thrive in low-level execution roles and rise to middle management in the pay-your-dues fashion most companies require before people will pay attention to your ideas. There are so many things companies could be trying to do differently, but it's ultimately a lot of work, and everyone's already overworked.

Bob Lyons

Thanks KD for recognizing my Linkedin post. I'd also encourage others to check it out as I focus on two other great disruptors that were not at all appreciated when they started out (even by their own employees) but are considered geniuses today. Whether it's business, education, or the government, people who start out to change how things get done always come up against stiff resistance from those who like the status quo. My favorite quote is from Thomas Edison who said " I didn't fail. I just found 10,000 ways it doesn't work." If someone in my family has cancer, that's the guy I want working on a cure.

rajat agrawal

I feel that what is important is that HR departments are always on run to destroy the lives of those who dont adhere to their traditional chores and try to go way ahead and on new one . the HR is always on prowl to kill those tiger cubs who are trying to show some resistance in the company by their weird way of looking at things that matter to organisational development but not to HR.

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