Disrupting transformation with Brant Cooper

“We must own disruption and our “unknown unknowns” in order to be able to adapt sustainably”

A great conversation with Brant about dealing with uncertainty and how to make your organisation disruption proof. We discuss how organisations can be more Resilient, Aware and Dynamic to deal with the uncertainty of today’s world. Today market risk is higher and more volatile – can we attract customers’ attention? Can we provide value? Can we retain customers?

We face ‘unknown unknowns’ yet businesses are traditionally wired for ‘knowing, so how do we adapt our leadership to be more ‘disruptive’ and give permission for experimentation on a larger scale ? How can companies scale the behavioural and cultural change needed to create this adaptability and become RAD organisations ?

Brant shares his experience, insights and research from working with organisations big and small across the globe.

The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :

–       Global disruption is evident in regular events that ripple across lives and the economy – war, the big quit, the pandemic, failed banks – and we must own it and adapt how we operate to recognize ongoing volatility.

–       In the past, e.g. mid-industrial age, market risk was lower and technology risk was higher – today market risk is higher: can we attract customers’ attention? Can we provide value? Can we retain customers?

–       We face ‘unknown unknowns’ yet businesses are traditionally wired for ‘knowing’ – but the boss doesn’t know either these days! Empathy and insight must come from the ground up.

–       The new innovation theatre is digital transformation. Innovation means different things to different people, so it must be defined, along with the desired outcomes.

–       We must incorporate the human element, however: what is the impact, the value, the market? Designing for the human and the user experience can still create impactful and powerful things.

–       An innovation mindset does not equal a project. A project represents ‘hard change’, and organisations must be RAD to succeed:

·      Resilient = have a core competence from the outset that provides strength to the organisation; be strong but flexible; be comfortable with uncertainty

·      Aware = cultivate an ‘outside-in view’ – look to the economy to be aware of changes and customer whims; empower people at the edge of the business to share information inside

·      Dynamic = build processes that allow change based on new information

–       The five elements of a disruptive mindset are: empathy (inside and outside the company), exploration (of assumptions), equilibrium (balance execution with exploration), evidence (data and insights to inform decisions) and ethics (in the digital age, the safety of customers).

–       Leaders must demonstrate these 5 e’s; make observations from watching; define values that are serious for the organisation and therefore everyone in it; democratise; have impact on companies and society.

–       Disruptive leadership means leaders practicing such skills themselves; being willing to admit failure; developing empathy for employees; being more transparent, open and vulnerable; empowering teams to achieve desired outcomes; ensuring accountability for teams; and providing training in the requisite behaviour.

–       The biggest challenge for companies is defining the model for a way of working and teaching empowered behaviour – encouraging team members to report out; owning the path to desired outcomes; building a mentality that allows people to tell the boss what’s happening.

–       It is difficult to scale adaptive change to bring business results and there is no single answer – it depends on the culture, the leaders and the starting point. With C-suite support, it can start with the core business.

–       Generating near-term impact can be a tipping point for driving change – new business emerges from the old business, whereby ‘good bits’ spread to different parts of an organisation.

–       To make a company disruption-proof, leaders must create a community for buy-in (particularly in large organisations), form an agile team, give themselves a mandate to try, push boundaries and ultimately do things differently.

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Suzie Lewis

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