9781119012115.pdfToday’s great companies win by disrupting stale industries. That is, the great companies of the 21st century destroy the status quo in ways that the incumbents never see coming. Google. Uber. Airbnb.

These greats didn’t make slight improvements to the search, transportation, and lodging industries. Rather, they strapped C4 to the existing model and blew it to pieces.

When you blow up an existing model, you upset the existing players. Those existing players then unite to launch a defense attack. Law suits. Smear campaigns. Anti-disruptor regulation.

How do you survive these defensive attacks? Easy. Constructive disruption.

Is Google evil? Who cares.

Is Uber safer than cabs? It doesn’t matter.

Is Airbnb a legal alternative to hotels? Irrelevant.

Google, Uber and AirBnB disrupt the right way. That’s why they are winning.

Follow these three principles to achieve constructive disruption.

No. 1: Be truthful and transparent

When disruptors challenge the status quo, questions regarding the disruptor’s legality or legitimacy often arise. (read more…)

When you’re just getting started as an entrepreneur, you’re expected to wear a lot of hats. You’re a programmer and a designer. A financial planner and an accountant. A CEO, CMO, CFO … and everything in between.

The problem is, too many entrepreneurs — women in particular — never shed those hats. In fact, the majority of women-owned businesses are solopreneurs. They feel obligated to manage everything on their own instead of building a business beyond themselves. Social stigmas around “doing it all” often prevent women from admitting what they aren’t great at, and hiring employees to fill those gaps. This hindrance results in a problematic revenue plateau — only 13% of women-owned businesses generate annual revenues over $100,000.

Here’s the big secret. If you’re not willing to get clear on who you are, how you’re wired, where you shine (and where you don’t), you’re missing out on key insights that can keep you from becoming a strong leader and from growing your business. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Do leaders in your organization “hoard” talent?

  • Constantly — they never let go of their good people: 18.92%
  • Sometimes — they let good people move to new roles when forced to: 46.72%
  • Rarely — good talent can flow pretty easily: 30.12%
  • Never — our leaders are great at rotating talent: 4.25%

Be a Net Exporter of Talent. While it’s hard to lose a high performer, holding onto them and hoarding them is bad for everyone involved – them, the organization, and you. For them, it stunts their career growth. Eventually they’ll seek greener pastures (which is bad for the organization when they depart for another company). That’s bad for you ultimately because you lose a key player and people won’t want to join your team out of fear they’ll eventually stagnate. (read more…)

In a world where 1 billion people use smartphones, many can’t believe that I run a company without one. They can’t imagine life without e-mail, Google, and Facebook in their pocket.

We expect instant gratification and accessibility; a smartphone is considered a necessity, not a convenience. However, keeping my flip phone and saying “no” to constant interruptions was one of my most profitable business decisions.

Why I decided to forgo a smartphone

One of the main factors in my decision was the distraction that smartphones introduce. I’ve seen people stare under the table in meetings, glued to an app rather than contributing. People spend weeks scheduling a meeting, only to find themselves combating iPhones.

This epidemic spreads far beyond the boardroom. Americans reportedly spend more than three hours per day on their smartphones. In an industry that requires 24/7 customer care, I choose to use that time to give people the attention they deserve. (read more…)

Feedback, as Marshall Goldsmith taught me, is a gift. And as such we need to thank people when they deliver it to us.

It is not enough to say thank you. You also need to learn to accept it — and act up on it.

When the feedback is coming from a trusted source — even if we don’t like that individual — it should be considered, and changes made.

John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. Also in 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 100 leadership experts, and Global Gurus ranked him No. 11 on its list of global leadership experts. Baldoni is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”

If you enjoyed this article, join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for our daily newsletter on being a better, smarter leader. (read more…)