Sep 1, 2020 by Kaeli Lindholm
6x Your Odds of Success Through Strategic Disruption
2020 has been an unprecedented year, full of unwelcome challenges and disruptions: a pandemic, political chaos, a fluctuating economy. Right now, we find ourselves in uncharted waters.
But as novel as this year seems to be, there is nothing unique about the concept of fear and challenges. In fact, the future has always been uncertain. History is a great reminder that we have been disrupted again and again and again. In the United States, we’ve experienced years of war, mass shootings, riots, political and social upheavals, economic fluctuations, and pandemics.
I’ve been through times of tremendous personal adversity: The loss of a sibling, a spontaneous car fire that engulfed my home in flames, an injury that nearly ended my collegiate soccer career, family illness, and heartbreak…
But what I do know is that, as a result of these devastations and, most importantly, my ability to rebound from them, I am reminded that I have the ability to overcome adversity by increasing my awareness and resources in order to strengthen my ability to withstand recurrences of these events.
While it’s certainly not my intention to minimize the severity of these turbulent times, I do want to help shift perspective today around the theory of disruption, to view it not as an adverse event but as a timely opportunity to elevate your life and business. When positioned appropriately, disruption can be embraced as a powerful strategy.
Today I want to talk with you about 3 core ideas around disruption:
Disrupt or Be Disrupted
Believing in the power and positivity of disruption:
For me, the better portion of this year has hinged on a single mantra: DISRUPT or Be Disrupted.
When I was learning how to drive, I took a course in Driver’s Ed; the module was called “Defensive Driving”. They would advise the students to always be on the lookout for pedestrians, and cars that were violating laws, running lights, or crossing lanes. I remember being in the little car simulators in class playing virtual dodge ball with kids darting across the street unannounced. When I came to a four-way intersection, they’d tell me “Don’t just go when it’s your turn; make eye contact with the other drivers and wait to anticipate their move.”
However, when I came home and got in my dad’s car, he would have me unlearn everything they taught at school. My dad’s motto was “Drive offensively.” Take control, make the decision, and go. Don’t wait around for others to tap their brakes or wave you on, just take initiative and lead the way. Be the leader.
Is it just me or does this scenario sound very similar to the resounding responses to the current pandemic? As the initial wave swept over brick and mortar businesses, I watched some businesses instinctively pull back, reverting to “defensive driving mode,” waiting it out to see what the local governments would mandate or making decisions contingent upon loans to support the potential loss of revenue. Many had the knee-jerk reaction to cut marketing budgets (or worse, team members) and hit the pause button on selling their services. For me, it was like being at the Grand Prix and watching 80% of the cars just bail out of the race, leaving the runway wide open. It was as if they weren’t prepared for the turns ahead so, without absolute certainty around how they’d get to the finish line, they just surrendered.
They came to that four-way stop and just turned the engine off.
Through all this chaos, I can’t help but pause to think about the impact of adversity and, moreover, the influence of disruption on us as human beings. Working with our clients, I’ve been transported back to the past, channeling that 16-year old girl in her dad’s green Ford Explorer, but, this time, at a four-way intersection all alone.
In the aftermath of turmoil, we have academy members embracing horrific discomfort in order to double down on a wide open racetrack. They are plowing down habitually limiting and fear-based beliefs to leverage ingenuity and leap ahead of the competition, by essentially exposing opportunity for unexpected, explosive growth. Hence the growing momentum in the pent-up demand or “rebound”. These business owners faced tremendous fear and uncertainty and pushed the gas pedal anyway, choosing to “Disrupt” over “Being Disrupted.” Magnetizing abundance during times of uncertainty.
So, if we agree that disruption can be a powerful tool, let’s discuss #2.
Disruption can be applied to both businesses and human beings.
Here, then, is my question: if unplanned disruption can be a catalyst for growth, could disruption be applied as a planned and intentional strategy? Furthermore, could personal disruption (i.e. stepping out of our comfort zones) in fact simulate nuanced growth and development?
We know, from the brilliant work done at Harvard by Clayton Christensen, who was touted by Forbes as “one of the most influential business theorists of the last 50 years,” that Disruption in business does in fact lead to innovation.
Why? Disruption often exposes new pain points or blind spots that stimulate creative thinking. It forces us to ask better questions: Is the way we have been doing something going to continue to be the best process under new conditions? In a new environment?
The theory of disruption states that the odds of success are 6x higher when you pursue a disruptive course, evidenced by a few of my favorite disruptors: The polaroid camera, the Apple computer, Netflix, AirBnb, and Amazon.
I recently came across Whitney Johnson in her award-winning book, Build an A Team, where she references the S-Curve in business, which is traditionally used to model how quickly an innovation would be adopted in the marketplace. What stopped me in my tracks was her ingenious insight that this same curve is also a helpful tool for understanding and planning personal disruptions. It’s essentially a scale that represents three distinct phases of disruption (or learning milestones).
Let’s use onboarding a new employee as an example:
Inexperience– This is the “low end of the S”; it can feel like a slog because it often requires huge efforts that yield little outcomes. It’s events like the acclimation to a new company, team, boss, role or learning new systems. Ultimately, it’s expanding and stretching out of one’s comfort zone.
Think of this stage like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s like when you belly up to the coffee table and dump all the pieces out, and it feels overwhelming, daunting; it’s hard to anticipate the end, but once you start making progress, it begins to feel SO rewarding.
Engagement (The “sweet spot”)– This Is the exhilarating hyper-growth part of the curve, where neurons are firing and tasks become easier and easier. Everyday our new employee gets that little dopamine hit from learning something new! And the reward is so great.
Mastery– As our employee approaches mastery, tasks become easier and easier. This is satisfying for a while, but, because he or she is no longer enjoying the “feel-good” effects of learning, we are likely to get bored. If we stay on top of a curve too long, our plateau becomes a precipice.
If a person cannot grow with a company, they will grow away from it.
In our company, we can apply this same theory to the landscape of our clients. Industry disruptors have unique characteristics. They welcome uncomfortable change because they are typically focused on opportunities around expansion:
These folks typically are focused on creating meaningful influence and cultivating deeply satisfying lifestyles. They want to travel, spend time with their families, and be able to afford the luxuries life has to offer… but they have good WHY questions. Why do we do it that way? Why does it have to be that way? Why not me?
“Disruptors” usually start as underdogs, so to speak; they ask high level questions that challenge current and often dearly held systems and structures. They are frustrated with following the herd. They want to rattle the status quo, and they embrace uncertainty with a resounding strength because they believe calculated risk is the key to success. They are misfits.
I can spot these rising stars from a mile away. They have their eye on the prize. The goal of our work together is to elevate them to the top 2%.
Many of them are drawn to me because they have a burning desire to “Disrupt” but usually can’t put their finger on how to intentionally activate the disruption they need to agitate the status quo in a controlled, systematic way. But, once they have learned how to harness this Disruption as a strategy, nothing can stop them!
So, if we agree that disruption can be positively applied to both businesses and human beings, let’s explore how to create intentional disruption to catapult growth and differentiation:
#3 Learn how to create intentional disruption to catapult growth and differentiation.
So, here’s the thing. If we believe disruption is, in essence, a “good thing”, how do we in fact initiate intentional disruption, which could, by default, set us up for failure, confront our insufficiencies, expose gaps and weaknesses in our systems, all without any guarantee of not sliding backwards?
Well, there is no guarantee! But that’s the beauty of it.
Remember the old board game Chutes and Ladders? It’s like a maze of ups and downs, sideways pivots, and backward moves down chutes that, in turn, land you in a position that could catapult you up another ladder, higher than you were before.
Isn’t this similar to life? Doesn’t this feel a lot like disruption? Purposefully taking two steps back to slingshot 10 steps forward? It’s like ripping off a band aid or separating from a baby blanket; it’s both your comfort but also your constraint toward advancement. Whitney Johnson uses the analogy of a snake shedding its skin. First, while the snake’s body continues to grow, its skin does not, kind of like when humans grow out of their clothes. A roomier skin layer is generated, and the old layer is discarded. Secondly, shedding, or sloughing of the skin, removes harmful parasites. This transformation is disruptive and painful, but it’s also liberating!
Living a life without disruption is like never shedding a layer of restrictive skin; or again in the chutes and ladders analogy, it’s always taking one step forward and two steps back. Why not take 2 steps back to slingshot 10 steps forward? WHY NOT use disruption to your advantage?
So how do you self-disrupt? Well, you can jump or get pushed. This is the model behind the S curve of learning; jump from one S curve to another to continue to grow and this pattern will repeat itself.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to get so uncomfortable that you had no choice but to evolve?
Perhaps you are like many of the clients we work with:
One of our incredible clients (we’ll call him Dr Smith) was in a situation where his Practice Manager alluded to feeling overwhelmed with so much responsibility on her plate, so he started assigning more “management” responsibilities to his Patient Care Coordinator. After taking our comprehensive team assessment, he uncovered that his practice manager was lacking skills to support him through this growth period, and, at the same time, he wasn’t investing in training to challenge his incredible team to move up the S curve of learning. He was just delegating tasks and trying to be a good leader and not burn out his team!
He was outsourcing and paying way too much for specific tasks and projects rather than investing in the resources to train his internal team up.
As a result, he outsourced his vision to a company who camouflaged his unique value, and thus his marketing resulted in basic “me too” messaging that made it very difficult for prospective patients to clearly identify the difference they would experience by coming to him.
So, as you can see, what started as a team issue resulted in a market positioning problem, which then resulted in loss of potential revenue, an increase in outsourced costs, and a narrowing of treasured profits that he needed to access during this pandemic in order to double down and position his business in a category of one.
If you can relate to Dr. Smith, and you feel like you are eager to disrupt the status quo to increase your cash on hand, your reputation, and your autonomy, I’d like to invite you to book a call with me to learn more about how our leadership program can help you translate your big, audacious goals into simple, practical, and actionable steps.
We are the only program in the market that brings Fortune 500 leadership strategies to aesthetic practice by turning your team into profit warriors in order to create a ‘category of one’ growth system that is designed to consistently produce lucrative 6-figure revenue numbers in your business every single month.
What we’ve heard from many of our clients is that there is a subtle voice; it starts as a whisper, but, without action, it will become a screaming cry for help. Don’t wait until it’s too late. My prediction is that the COVID-19 pandemic will jostle and expose many practices to re-evaluate their systems. In order to weather the storm and succeed, they will need to channel their inner misfit and embrace disruption. My clients tell me I have a superpower for bringing a playful spirit into business while empowering them to make strategic, ‘massive-impact’, disruptive decisions with confidence and clarity through a proven formula.
I realize it can sometimes be impossible to see some of these solutions that are needed because you are so close to the source. If you’d like to get my brain in your business to identify blind spots that, with the right adjustment, could catapult your growth, use the link below to schedule a call.
I’d love to learn more about your business. Schedule a no pressure call Kaeli HERE
About Kaeli Lindholm
Kaeli Lindholm is the founder and president of KLC Consulting, a visionary business development & strategic coaching company bringing fortune 500 leadership systems to high-growth aesthetic practices who are poised to disrupt their markets.
Widely recognized as a brand revisionist, Kaeli believes achieving ‘category of one’ leadership requires taking a differentiated approach. Her coaching and teaching programs challenge the status quo, including the very construct of business success. Paired with significant revenue growth, clients describe the benefit of working with Kaeli as “game-changing”, “both guide and exceptional partner”, and “provides value well beyond monetary measurement!” When you partner with Kaeli you will make an empowered transformation in your business and life.
Kaeli’s signature programs include the POP Aesthetic Leadership Academy and the Aesthetic Business Accelerator Conference, POP|CON where aesthetic practice managers go to master the formulas to stimulate six and seven figure leaps in their business through mastery of controlled transformation to systems, strategy, and teams. Catch Kaeli on her award winning podcast, The Fierce Factor
Join Kaeli’s free Facebook group The Tribe of Fierce Aesthetic Leaders for access to weekly strategic advisory trainings, interviews, pdf downloads, and other value rich resources to help your business disrupt!