Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox, in an interview with Fast Company referred to the question that keeps many leaders awake at night:
"HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON’T BECOME THE BIG COMPANY THAT BECOMES RIGID, BRITTLE, AND DISRUPTED BY THE NEW GUY?"
Whether your company is valued at $1 million or $10 Billion plus, the question comes back to you and your team on a regular basis.
Dropbox may well be one of the only companies in the world at the moment simultaneously competing directly with Microsoft, Amazon, HP, and Apple, yet there is a good chance in at least one or more of your business divisions, the organization is facing a similarly daunting challenge.
Here are 3 things you can consider to ensure your team is able to respond nimbly:
1. When integrating acquisitions, ensure the team you are acquiring has the ability to use your resources to build on their successes and not stifle effort nor lose momentum:
Larger organizations frequently acquire new technologies and smaller companies because of their impressive track records in a particular niche or segment- yet go on to squash the acquisition talent in an effort to homogenize group culture. Guide teams to allow them to keep their entrepreneurial spirit and flexibility while becoming part of the new stronger company and group sharing a joint vision.
2. Focus on solving an easily explainable problem:
While the technology deployed may well be very complex and the channels to customer diverse, ensure the problems of the customer are well understood internally and can be explained simply and quickly externally. When everyone in the organization can answer in their own words the question, "How will the customer benefit?" and it is understood why the customer will pay for the privilege, then the organization can compete head to head with any competitor.
3. Consider your competitor of tomorrow may well not yet exist today:
While people assume in the technology arena that a new startup will displace a five year old "veteran," today even in the areas of industrial production previously considered stagnant, there have been new entries that in less than a decade have been able to become market leaders disrupting the legacy producers significantly. Empower your entire organization to look for a new solution that will replace how things are currently done and drive decision making to the front lines where the proximity to the customer allows for quick identification and solution development.