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How to Know if your Industry (or Career) is About to be Disrupted

only_person_who_still_listens_to_CDsLook at the calendar. If it is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday—or sometimes even Saturday or Sunday—your industry and your career are likely going through or preparing for a disruption. No one is immune.

Ask anyone who used to sell compact discs containing recorded music. Ask the guy who used to sell those phones that were tethered to a wall. Ask the staff photographers at the Chicago Sun-Times. Ask the guy who puts lug nuts on the wheels of every Ford that comes off the assembly line (oh, no, wait… that guy’s a robot now). If you think you’re not going to experience a disruption in your category or career, you might be crazy or have a serious case of denial.

If you’re reading this blog, you are likely employed in sales, management, or marketing. So how do you survive disruption and thrive in a new era? There are two ways. First, you can be the disruptor (that one’s easy to say but not so easy to do).

The other possibility? Focus less on your company, industry, or career, and focus more on the needs people want you to help solve.

Necessity is the mother of invention. So needs drive innovation. And innovation is at the heart of almost every disruption.

Now, let’s brainstorm.

In what ways might you…

  • Use your products, services, and expertise to solve problems for a customer in an entirely new category… different than any of the client types you serve now?
  • Modify your current offerings by partnering with another provider? (Sometimes, a bundled product can outperform what any one of the components could have achieved.)
  • Ask the people in your network about innovations they’re seeing in related industries… ideas that have shaken things up a bit or changed the way they serve customers?

Whether disruption is painful or enjoyable depends on whether you see it coming, adapt or respond to it, or even author it.

I suspect Steve Jobs had no problem with disruption.

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Topics: Digital