3 Signs Your Company is Unprepared for Digital Disruption

Personally, I have never used WhatsApp. But so many people started using it so very quickly (practically overnight) that Facebook purchased WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion.

Tablet computer and city of skyscrapersWhatsApp dramatically impacted the text messaging market so quickly and with such force that Facebook took heed and acted fast. It recognized the disruption taking place in the market and wanted in on the direction shift underway. WhatsApp now enables free text messages in addition to free mobile voice calls.

The vast majority of companies do not react like Facebook when confronted with a situation like WhatsApp in their marketplace. Most companies do not have the resources to make a $22 billion acquisition. But more importantly, watch to see if your leadership and your company culture embrace the type of digital disruption WhatsApp represents, or if they actively avoid it.

Is your company ready to move quickly with so much at stake?

Sign #1:

Technology is viewed as a cost center, the IT department, a necessary evil which drains funds which would otherwise be invested in more important departments in the business. It operates as a silo.

Alternatively, companies which embrace digital disruption leverage technology to drive business solutions as a strategic business advantage. Unified business and technology solutions are deployed rapidly, in an agile manner in conjunction with (often several) key partners.

Sign #2:

C-level executives do not have digital disruption on their radar screen. It is not something they discuss or actively prepare to address. The Board of Directors does not expect them to plan for such scenarios. They perceive their company, and to some extent their industry, to almost be immune.

Alternatively, companies who anticipate digital disruption scan the environment for signs of it constantly. They forecast the likelihood of it coming from competitors both inside and outside the current industry. They know how to adapt their business model(s) when the time comes.

Sign #3:

The company culture is not one which embraces change, develops change leaders or builds change resiliency in employees. Change happens organically, disconnected and everyone is expected to handle it on their own.

Those prepared for digital disruption, on the other hand, are innovators and have fostered a culture of innovation around them. They value agility in individuals and the organization as a whole. This means constant change is not only encouraged, it’s essential. They embody the DNA of those who Make Waves.

For more information on digital disruption, the digital vortex and the Global Center for Business Transformation, follow @dbt_center on Twitter.

Betsy Winkler is a Partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1 or on email at bwinkler@people-results.com. Sign up to receive her and her colleagues’ blog at Current.