My goal is to outline the core leadership experiences and practices involved in the process.
A five-phase model, using the acronym “LEAPS,” provides a structure for understanding the ways leaders create clarity during times of great uncertainty.
During Target’s breakthrough growth years, the Target team used its own instincts to infuse everything with leading edge design, from transforming store layouts to creating partnerships with designers like Philippe Starck.
Consumers didn’t know what they had been missing when going to Wal-Mart or Sears until Target showed them how “Tar-zjay” could give them “cheap chic” in a way no other retailer could.
Companies in these industries have been forced to experiment and introduce new technologies and business models, not just to compete, but to survive.
While most organizations possess a general awareness of the importance and necessity of disruptive innovation and change in general, there is a gap when it comes to understanding the deeper leadership qualities necessary for driving them.
As Gary Hamel says, “New problems demand new principles.Books like along with Apple’s remarkable success and the high-profile failures of Blockbuster, Borders, and Kodak, have created a heightened awareness and a desire for game-changing innovation.More resources, models, and tools exist to help companies innovate than ever before.Perhaps the most defining characteristic of disruptive innovation is the great uncertainty that it creates for leaders, organizations, and entire industries.The music, entertainment, computing, mobile phone, book publishing, photography, and healthcare industries have all experienced dramatic change due to new technologies, business models, distribution channels, government regulations, and market expectations.Contrary to conventional wisdom, disruptive leadership is not about analyzing customer needs, creating specifications to meet each need, and building great products and services to meet them.Bob Ulrich, the former CEO of the retailer Target, was opposed to direct consumer market research, and focus groups especially.We are willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time[v].” Few business schools, let alone companies, prepare their leaders to live with being misunderstood or criticized, especially for extended periods of time.When it comes to leading for disruption, recognizing that “the soft stuff is the hard stuff” can make the difference between success and failure.Leaders like these don’t get bogged down in data, but rather find opportunities to deliver an entirely new level of value.Research from the University of Amsterdam[vi] reveals the dyanmics behind how these leaders rise above the complexity of today’s business environment.