Your weekly disruption
Your weekly thought-provoking exploration into building disruptive capabilities.
Take The Right Risks
Last week we introduced the 7 Personal Disruptors that enable growth.
Today we will bring to life the first of these as we progress up the transformation curve. We will also illuminate this with two recent podcast guests.
You’re trying something new: you’ve made a lateral move, been promoted, or started a new job. You are confident that you can be successful, but so much is unfamiliar. It’s easy to be frustrated. Take a deep breath, and remember that at the beginning of this S-shaped curve, progress will be slow
Starting something new means taking a risk. But in our society, the word “risk” has assumed mostly negative connotations. When someone tells us “that’s risky,” most of us a visceral, fearful reaction. But Mother Nature seems to have built a loophole into our sense of well being, because embedded somewhere within the human genetic makeup is an inclination to take risks.
Of course, in order for evolution and natural selection to favor risk-taking as a behavior there has to be a benefit, and that benefit has to outweigh the outcome of doing nothing. Many examples from the animal kingdom support this hypothesis. According to research by Dr. Lee Alan Dugatkin, who was trying to understand a continuum of risk-taking, fish willing to take risks were likely to mate better
There are two fundamental types of risk to consider when contemplating some kind of transformative action: Competitive Risks and Market Risks.
Competitive Risk refers to the risks involved with entering an existing market with a competing product. There’s probably an already-established market leader and other players, meaning you’ll be in a tough fight to gain traction. There is a king pin and it aint you. There will be customers but you will have to gauge whether you can compete and win.
As an individual this is when you apply for a job that already has well qualified prospects. Competitive risk involves head to head competition. How successfully can you compete against ten, twenty, even fifty applicants for a single big opportunity? Or against six similarly qualified peers vying for promotion? This is brutal math; the ratio of winners to losers is daunting.
Mark Powell the Sales Director at Lion delved into his ascent from a ‘commercial’ guy into a sales guy. Download the podcast on iTunes, subscribe or click to listen: Superior Sales Disruption Podcast: Episode 7
Market Risk is what you assume when you effectively create a new market, by identifying a need that is not being met and creating the product or service that addresses this need. If there are customers, you are then favoured to own the market. This is what Netflix did when it spotted the opportunity to deliver videos cheaply and directly to consumers’ homes, eventually forcing Blockbuster to adopt the same modus. But by then it was too late for the latter to succeed. It had been ‘netflixed’. What had been a market risk for Netflix, became a competitive risk for Blockbuster, and research tells us that market risk is, well, less risky, than competitive risk.
In fact, your odds of success are six times higher and the revenue opportunity 20 times greater with market risk, says Whitney Johnson. “Despite our love affair with the certainty of competitive risk, the natural world, business research, and brain science all tell us that trying something new is less risky and ultimately more satisfying,” says Johnson.
So for an individual this is leaving a ‘safe’ corporate job to become an entrepreneur or a thought leader in a space that no one else is in. Or by staying I your corporate job and creating new arenas of competition. There may be no official job posting or even an established position. But you detect a gap and articulate a way to fill it: with a new job, tailor made for your expertise. You may be told “no thanks,” but if a manager says, “yes please” to your idea, there is no competition for the spot. There is a risk of being denied but not of being outmatched.
For personal disruption this is identifying a job no one else can do.
Drew Bilbe the founder from Nexba outlined this on: Superior Sales Disruption Podcast: Episode 8
When you make the decision to start something new, first figure out the jobs you want to do. Then position yourself to play where no one else is playing. Despite our love affair with the certainty of competitive risk, the natural world, business research, and brain science all tell us that trying something new is less risky and ultimately more satisfying. It’s the difference between a friends and family lemonade stand that earns a few dollars (which you may love) and one that takes in multiples of that (love and money) – because customers are truly thirsty for what you know how to do, and because you are the only one serving it up.
An example of taking on market risk is something I learned from John Buchan about MBA basketball star Steph Curry. Curry has built his career on taking shots that other people don’t. Three point shots from a crazy distance. Defenders didn’t traditionally worry about contesting these long-distance shots. Low percentage, so why bother? But Curry practiced and practiced until they weren’t low percentage for him. His game is a great example of assuming market risk. Rather than going head to head with other players in the crowded key under the basket, hoping to make the shot in the midst of heated competition, taking on competitive risk, he set up shots playing where others aren’t. Thirty feet from the basket. He’s made a career out of playing where others are not.
Right now in your life, in your work, how could you like Steph Curry take on more market risk? Play where others are not. Where can you do this? You might now be doing market risk, I’m going to do it! But here’s a quick word of warning. Even though market risk is less risky. The odds of your being successful are higher, like a moth to the flame we come back to competitive risk. It’s a siren song. It may be more competitive but it feels less risky because it’s more certain. Our lives are about reducing uncertainty. With competitive risk there’s a job posting, there are financial projections. We like knowing that 10 other people are applying, that there are projections for a product. This tells us it’s for real. Plus competitive risk is like going into battle, there’s an enemy, there’s opposition and adrenaline surges, which is oddly reassuring. But in the end that’s the problem. Because competing head-to-head with an established business and incumbent with 50 other applicants, it’s tough. Like we said, brutal math.
Number One. If you’re looking at an opportunity where you think you can compete and win, how can you employ market risk to increase your shot at winning. Like Steph Curry?
Number Two. If you’re about to take a new job and want to assess competitive risk around that job, ask the following questions: The job that you’re hiring me to do, who’s doing that job now? Presumably they’re hiring because there’s a pain-point. How are they making the pain go away today? How is the current pain-killing person going to feel? Do they want it to be their job? If they do, here’s where market risk comes into play. How might the role be restructured to do a job that someone isn’t already doing? If that’s not possible and you’re going to take the job regardless, because you want it, beginning day one, find a way to build an alliance with this person. Otherwise, instead of spending the first few months figuring-out how to do your job, you’ll be focused on vanquishing your foe. As Bob Proctor has said, “Amateurs compete. Professionals create.”
Number Three. Another important question to ask yourself is, provided that this is a match I can win, is it something that I even want? Or do you just want to win? Which is sometimes is okay. But be clear on the emotional game that you’re playing.
Number Four. Whenever and wherever possible look for market risks. Look for ways to play where others haven’t thought of playing. George Bernard Shaw said, “I don’t wait for the right opportunity, I create it.”
Number Five. Break-up your market risk ideas into small, ridiculously small pieces. We like to think of this as speed- dating a dream. It might seem big or far-fetched, but when you break it into small pieces it becomes a thing you can do.
Over the next few weeks we are going to delve into each element of personal disruption. Tapping into the key highlights of the podcast but also examples of examples from around the world.
If you want your Sales team to Gamify it’s performance please contact us at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/contact-us/
Next week we are going to delve deeper into the elements of Creating The Game.
If you are looking at running a Sales Game workshop either email Mark at email@example.com OR dig for more information at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/storytelling/workshops/
At Superior Sales we build programmes leveraging all the core drivers of capability – organisation, people, process and culture, not just skills. Refer to our white paper at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/storytelling/whitepaper/
At Superior Sales our capability experts work extensively with companies to equip sales teams, and indeed the whole organisation, to deliver a better customer experience. Please get in touch at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/contact-us/
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