Throughout my career, I have always been a disrupter.
Partly because when it came to doing things the normal way my performance was good, but not great.
And that wasn’t good enough for me.
So I was constantly looking for new ways of doing things, and challenging the status quo. Questioning why some things were done the way they were, especially if I thought there was a better way,
Often I was not alone, there were always one or two others who wanted to see if we could do things better, who believed that Faster, Better and Cheaper was a possibility.
However, there was always something that was hindering us, stopping us at times from making these improvements…
…and that was Management.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I was told by my boss, just slow down, or thanks we will look into it, or can you just follow the normal process.
In my experience people often see the role of management as maintaining the status quo. Not taking any risks, not trying to make things worse rather than trying to improve things.
At one company I was actually told that they liked the results I achieved, but didn’t like the disruptive way that they were achieved. I was actually rated below average, even though the results were excellent. The reason being that they didn’t like how they had been achieved.
I recently read an article about how at one company, who decided to implement Agile, there was a lot of resistance to it, partly because it highlighted that some teams were actually not doing a great job.
Their resistance was not so much to the change, but to getting found out.
Companies need to adapt to this new paradigm.
But to do that you need a Management/Leadership that supports encourages and promotes disruption.
This doesn’t mean that we need to accept all disruptions, and let people run amok, as that could lead to anarchy and chaos.
You have to be open to the idea, and review each initiative and balance the risk against the reward. When you do that you will find that those people who are naturally disruptive, and who are good at it, will start to come forward with good ideas.
I experienced that at a company where I was looking to reduce operating costs within IT infrastructure, by streamlining the hardware, optimizing the setup, getting rid of redundant equipment. I was told it wasn’t possible and that whilst some saving could be made it would cost more to do them than we would save.
Once we started and showed that we were serious about it, that there was a management in place that would look at new suggestions, new ways of doing things, many people came forward with ideas on what we could do.
Interestingly, none of these ideas were new, they had all been presented before but were rejected. Rejected because the old management didn’t want to change the current ways of working, ways they were comfortable with.
By implementing these ideas we ended up saving over $20m (18%) in operating costs, savings that were actually sustainable.
The only change tat was needed to unleash these saving was a change in management approach. A change to a management that supported, encouraged and promoted better ideas to managing the data centre.
Leadership defines culture, and if you want to have a business that looks to disrupt then you need to have a leadership that drives and not hinders disruption.