Why Nobody Wins When You’re A Disruptive Business

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What Goes Around Comes Around: Why Disruptive Business Is Bad Business

There’s a narrative we’ve come to accept as a fact of our technological age, and it’s this idea that every industry in the world is destined to be disrupted. People are doomed to lose their jobs, companies are doomed to go bankrupt, and everything we own, buy, or learn is doomed to become obsolete. And somehow this is not only okay, but necessary and good.

But if your goal as an entrepreneur is to disrupt other people’s lives for the sake of profit, to only destroy existing structures and replace them with new ones—and take no responsibility for the fallout—rather than improve on the old, you’ve got a negative goal, and it’s going to come back around to hurt you at some point.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

That’s why I never talk about disruptive business here at Strategic Coach. Instead, I talk about transformative business. I talk about ways to make things better so that I can improve and simplify people’s lives and, ultimately, make them more enjoyable.

It’s a matter of mindset and intention. The way you think about your business and its goals will determine how you’re perceived in the marketplace and the kind of value you’re offering to people.

Creating solutions, not solving problems.

It’s for that reason that I also don’t talk about solving problems. I’d rather focus on creating solutions. It’s a small distinction, but an important one, because my goal is to empower people to transform their lives, not tell them what to do or how to be. Just solving their problems won’t set them up for future success. It’s an easy sell from a business standpoint, but it offers poor returns on a customer’s investment.

Needless to say, disruptors always go for the easy sell.


“Be a transformer, not a disruptor.”
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The difference between a hostile universe and a friendly one is you.

As a result, this idea of disruptive business has a lot of people very stressed out. It paints a picture of the world where there are clear winners—the technological innovators looking to make a quick buck—and clear losers—their customers, who have to race to catch up to every new innovation. It’s a hostile, “me versus you” model of the world, and it assumes that only the people who can afford to keep up are worth paying attention to.

That’s bad business and bad karma, and it’s not sustainable, either, because you’re constantly alienating the people whom your business depends on for survival.

And people eventually fight back. If you show no concern for what your creation is doing in the world except ensuring it profits only a small number of people, you’ll be repaid with rebellion and rejection. People won’t allow it to continue.

But what if you assumed the world was a friendly one and did business accordingly? What if you operated from the belief that, not only does my success not diminish yours, my success could actually enhance yours? That, with a little effort, everybody can win?

You’d become a real force to be reckoned with in the marketplace, and a company people want to support with their time, money, and—most importantly—loyalty.

Working together.

You’d also get people engaged, fast. In the hostile model of the universe, businesses make decisions and people are forced to react to those decisions. They get no say about where their future is going.

But in a friendly universe, everybody participates. Everybody agrees to work toward a bigger, better future, and that’s a highly motivating goal.

So if you choose to be a transformative business rather than a disruptive business, you choose to create possibilities for people. You choose to create value rather than discomfort. And you’ll be rewarded for that choice every time—with satisfaction for what you’ve created, with gratitude from your customers, and with constant growth in your business, because you’re improving existing structures, not destroying them.

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About the Author

Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan is the world’s foremost expert on entrepreneurship in action. He is the founder of The Strategic Coach Inc. and creator of The Strategic Coach® Program. Visionary, creative, wise, playful, and generous, he is a true champion of entrepreneurs worldwide.

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