Being a well-established organization can be a double-edged sword. While name recognition and a firmly-entrenched reputation are attributes desired by many organizations, it also means it can be difficult to adapt company culture and brands to changing markets. These firms are often on the lookout for market disruptors – companies that shatter the paradigm of how things have traditionally been done in an industry. Think, desktop computer, iPhone, Uber, etc.
But even established companies can adapt and disrupt their markets to gain an advantage. In an article for Forbes, Susanna Schrobsdorff looks at how well-established companies like Mattel and Campbell Soup have worked to rediscover themselves in the hopes of providing some market disruption of their own. “When Denise Morrison took over as CEO of Campbell Soup in 2011, the digital revolution was well underway, but Campbell wasn’t prepared,” writes Schrobsdorff. “Her leadership team did a deep dive to see what cultural shifts were affecting the food industry—and it was clear that the digital tsunami was coming their way.”
Being a disruptor and adapting and capitalizing on changing cultural and market trends requires being aware of and in tune to such trends in the first place. This is another area where diversity and inclusion are so important to businesses. An organization that is too homogeneous in terms of generation, race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic background, geographic diversity, etc. risks becoming stiff and static in the face of a constantly changing business environment.
For example, a company that fails to take an inclusive approach to its Millennial and Gen Y employees is potentially missing out on great insights these cohorts may have into the importance of new technologies or new ways of marketing to their peers.
Market disruption isn’t just for new companies. While large, established businesses can rarely be as nimble as a small start-up, it doesn’t mean they are hopelessly set in their ways. A great way to be aware of and ready to react to a changing environment is by being inclusive of a diverse staff and leadership team.