Most businesses have a healthy me-first attitude. They keep their sights squarely focused on internal KPIs, growth plans and company culture. If they think about other businesses in their industry, it’s usually for competitive benchmarking or market research.
There’s nothing wrong with a business navel-gazing, per se. But sometimes, internal improvement isn’t enough. Occasionally, you have to pull your entire industry up by the bootstraps to see positive change.
You shouldn’t settle for being a passive component in the system; you should be a thought leader, a changer, a disruptor. Here’s why – and how – to advance your industry.
It’s a Disrupt or Be Disrupted World Out There
With technology advancing at a breakneck pace, you can expect to witness more disruptive innovation. There are two places you can be when disruptive innovation hits: on the forefront or left scrambling alongside the old guard.
In other words, if you aren’t the one leading technological or cultural advancements in your industry, you’re the one reacting to them. As Tim Koller, Richard Dobbs and Sree Ramaswamy succinctly put it, in their Harvard Business Review article “The Future and How to Survive It,” “Companies need to be willing to disrupt themselves before others do it to them.”
If Not Now, Then When?
If you want to advance your industry, you have to strike while the iron’s hot. Just look at the real estate industry.
Regan McGee is the CEO of Nobul, a digital marketplace that’s disrupting the real estate industry by offering choice and transparency to consumers. After more than a decade working in real estate, McGee knew it was “a crucial time” for things to change, “as recent regulatory changes, longstanding demand for industry advancement and an embrace of digital technologies have become too prevalent to ignore.”
“I witnessed my opportunity to create and lead a real estate revolution,” says McGee, “and I took it.” If you see an opportunity present itself in your industry, don’t wait to take it.
Consumers Deserve Better
When you advance your whole industry, who wins (aside from the businesses agile enough to advance with you)? The consumer wins.
Advancement breathes the fresh air of competition into stagnant industries, forcing every actor and organization to do better. It forces companies to deliver better products, smoother services, simplified processes and improved support. In each case, the recipient is the consumer. In each case, the consumer receives the elevated experience they deserve.
You’re Offering a Ladder, Not a Hot Air Balloon
Lastly, here’s something to keep in mind as you advance your industry: you’re offering a ladder, not a hot air balloon.
In other words, your innovations and developments will empower others in your industry. And with any luck, their advancements will, in turn, help your business grow. Innovation should create a mutually encouraging ecosystem, in which every business works toward loftier goals.
Conclusion: How to Advance Your Industry
From the reasons above, we can extract some insights on how to advance your industry. To become a thought leader in your field, you should:
- Embrace disruptive innovation
- Keep an ear to the ground for opportunity
- Put the consumer first
- And empower others in your industry
Don’t just worry about what happens within the four walls of your company’s office building. Broaden your concerns to embrace innovations and advancements that will improve your entire industry.