Everybody is Responsible…Except Us?

Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San F...

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Who’s responsible for a company’s fate?  Take Enron.  All of us saw the valuation of this company skyrocket without explanation during the drunken euphoria of the bubble days. We loved Enron because our stock was making us rich. The shareholders were sleeping by not demanding answers. The board was bought and sold. The employees were in a coma. The SEC was asleep at the switch. Are we vindicated because the founder is dead, the CEO is serving time and the CFO and his wife swapped prison sentences? No. Nobody is off the hook.

Disruption is critical to innovation and there are many players in a Culture of Disruption.  The leadership of a company, the board, the investors, the staff, the customers, shareholders, the global market—all play a role in stimulating game-changing ideas. The Culture of Disruption is a culture of always asking questions. “Why?” “How can we make things better?” “What can we do to make it better, faster or cheaper?” Innovation needs an environment where voices can speak up, and one where they are heard and respected. Everyone’s first responsibility is to speak up when things are wrong as well as when opportunity is in the air.

Often we feel helpless. Why? If your idea is rational, if you feel your company stopped innovating a long time ago, if you are frustrated, then why hold back?  When did we stop championing change and start collecting paychecks? Intelligence should prevail over ignorance.

Consider Research in Motion (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry. The employees, management and board must have seen the iPhone coming. Many probably own iPhones, iPads and so on. So why the paralysis? Why didn’t the company introduce a smart phone three or four years back? Would that have not been better than staff reductions? Someone needs to speak up.  We all need to understand that we all have the power to disrupt. If we don’t do it, who will? In the infamous words of Steve Colbert, “Nation, what the hell is going on here? Why are we all sleeping?”

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