An Executive Search Firm’s Perspective

Preparing for Disruptors: An Executive Search Firm’s Perspective

Business books are filled with spectacular case studies of big-name companies that failed to prepare for game-changing disruptors. From Kodak to Xerox, Polaroid to Blockbuster, the lessons learnt point to the necessity for innovation in technology, digitisation, and customisation. As an executive search firm in Johannesburg, we at Mindcor Intersearch Global, share some research on how businesses prepare for disruptors.

Learn from Mistakes

When an engineer employed by Xerox invented the first PC in the 1970s, the board decided against investing in its manufacture, believing that Xerox’s future lay firmly in copy machines. The title of Smith and Alexander’s book says it all: “Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, then Ignored, the First Personal Computer.” The authors share the valuable lesson that businesses cannot keep making money using the same technology.

Adopt the Right Approach

While Xerox might not have been able to predict the future demand for PCs, their experience shows how important it is to regularly interrogate fixed assumptions, remain flexible, and anticipate customer needs. Listen to your consumers, keep an eye on developments, and take the time to consider how global changes might disrupt your industry in the next decade. For example, it would be suicide for a traditional car manufacturer to ignore the latest developments in electric and automated vehicles in its strategic planning. Companies who view disruptions as exciting prospects rather than threats are more sustainable than those who cling rigidly to outdated assumptions. Xerox has taught us the importance of remaining flexible and open to the possibility of more than one company vision.

Secure the Appropriate Talent

What is evident from the research and Mindcor’s experience as professional recruiters is that a strong foundation comprised of optimal resources, skills, and knowledge is needed to position a business for disruptors. Do you have high performing, innovative teams in place? What does your business do well and what skills are missing? Does your technology anticipate customer needs? Do you need to recruit new talent or create alliances? Consider partnering with a professional recruitment or executive search firm to make sure you have the most relevant talent model for success.

Rigorous thinking about possible futures and the capabilities required are important in preparing your business for possible disruptors. Complacency or a reluctance to innovate can leave your business floundering whilst your competitors race miles ahead because they were prepared to change. For preparation support, please contact us on (011) 550 5111. Our experienced recruitment professionals and consultants are trained to assist.