This isn't just the start of a new year; this is the beginning of a new decade. With that, amazing new opportunities will present themselves for you and your organization. There are many certainties we already know in this new decade. For example, 2020 is an election year in the U.S., so most companies will "wait and see" in terms of innovation due to the political uncertainties that come along with an election.
This strategy of playing it safe couldn't be any more wrong; you should not "wait and see" what 2020 has to offer because technology-driven exponential change and digital disruption will not stop! Instead, take advantage of others' "wait and see" strategy by identifying the indisputable Hard Trends that will occur regardless of the election outcome and anticipate whatever change is headed your way to transform it into great opportunity.
Disruption Doesn't "Wait and See"
Digital disruption will increase at an exponential rate, and Anticipatory Leaders know that this is a Hard Trend, or future certainty. Additionally, they know that contextually aware devices built around the Internet of Everything (IoE) will continue to grow as well. This is why these anticipatory individuals do not "wait and see" for election results; they know disruptions have no political agenda and care not for the election results.
The first way to better become a positive disruptor is to go opposite. When everyone goes one way, Anticipatory Leaders go the other and take the road less traveled.
In the case of the election, after everyone first goes the way of "waiting and seeing," they will need to react quickly after the results. That is far more uncertain in the long run, especially when we have future certainties in our hands.
Anticipatory Leaders know that this year is much easier to grab competitive advantage while most are waiting until November to react, so they go opposite and, more importantly, double down on redefining and reinventing their products, services, and customer experiences before someone else does.
Realign Focus and Become Positive Disruptors
Another big reason so many organizations and individuals alike "wait and see" is due to lack of focus. I'm sure you can attest to the fact that we all get bombarded with distracting political TV ads throughout the year. These ads leave us divided and ultimately distracted from our strategic focus, in turn hurting our ability to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and allies.
I challenge you and your organization to disallow yourself from getting sucked into political attack ads emotionally if you wish to reap the rewards of taking positive action in this 2020 election year. In addition, do not just increase your focus, but increase your focus on being positive disruptors by improving something that needs improvement. Oftentimes during an election year, everyone is divided more than usual, so positive disruption can reunite many and help humankind move forward.
The Cost of "No" in 2020
Another crucial concept for those "waiting and seeing" during an election year to consider the cost of the "no." Saying "no" to the time and money needed for innovations has always been easier than saying "yes" because in the past, it cost nothing to turn good ideas down or to say "no" to expensive innovation.
Saying "yes" to innovation does take time and money. An employee at a manufacturing firm with an idea of how to implement augmented reality on the manufacturing floor will cost something to develop and implement, whereas saying "no" to it will quickly eliminate all costs and time spent.
A positive disruptor who says "yes" to a game-changing innovation that is based on a Hard Trend they know will happen anyway, regardless of who does it, will drive low-risk innovation and win. The important question to ask yourself and your organization is this: What's the cost of waiting this year or saying "no" when you know that positive disruptors are saying "yes?"
Starting Fresh in This New Year and New Decade
A new decade is quite uncertain in many ways; however, strategy based on certainty has low risk and high reward, so start by identifying Hard Trends and certainties you do know will happen. Trends by themselves do not have power until you attach them to an opportunity, so pay attention to those Hard Trends and related opportunities in order to see disruption before you get disrupted, and use those opportunities to become a positive disruptor.
Most importantly, and unique to this year, do not "wait and see!" Go opposite, keep focused on creating positive disruptions, and understand the cost of saying "no." If you continue to innovate and disrupt, you will utilize this transformative new year in a profound way and likely set your organization ahead much further than you ever thought it could be.