The Millennial Leadership Series : Disrupt or be Disrupted?

disruptive humour

Disruption, be it through technology, innovation process or through something else, seems to be the flavour of the corporate environment. So what is disruption? In simple terms, it is when a new product or service helps create a new market and in the process significantly weakens and at times destroys an existing product or service, market category and even an industry.

As can be seen from the above, there are two facets of Leadership that operate in a disruptive environment.

First, the kind of Leadership that can envision and innovate a product, service or process that  either creates a new market or sets about destroying an existing product market category. Think of the I Phone. Think of Uber.

Second, the kind of Leadership that can recognise the disruptions gaining strength within the industry and take timely and intuitive actions to not only protect one’s  existing business but ride the disruption as an opportunity. Think of General Motors and its incisive investments into EV and autonomous vehicle technology.

The 20th Century has been witness to innumerable cases of strong leaderships with impeccable management credentials consistently failing to anticipate market disruptions and falling by the wayside. Think of Kodak.

With the exponential growth of disruptive products and processes that we are witness to today and the convergence of these to create mega disruptive trends, a completely new kind of Leadership blueprint and mindset is needed to be effective in the twenty-first century.

What kind of Leadership blueprint and mindset might this be? How does one acquire it?


In Learning………


Author: Shakti Ghosal

* A PCC Credentialed Executive Coach mentor and trainer for leaders & performance. * A qualified engineer and a PGDM (Faculty Gold medalist) from IIM Bangalore. * Four decades of industry experience spanning Engineering, Maintenance, Projects, Consumer durables, Supply Chains, Aviation and Tourism. * Top level management positions to drive business development, strategy, alliances all around the globe. * A visiting faculty at the IIMs. *A passion to envision trends & disseminate Leadership incubation globally. , * . +91 - 9051787576

4 thoughts on “The Millennial Leadership Series : Disrupt or be Disrupted?”

  1. Hi Shakti,

    Disruption starts with thinking about another way/s of gratifying a consumer. About inefficiencies in the status quo and about what might resonate with current and prospective users. Being asset light defines a large number of under 35s – they are quite happy not to have own apartments or cars and organisations like Uber thought about a model that resonated with such thinking. In short, an ability to have the antennae up – what Prof S K Roy taught us – is the first skill Leadership must have


    1. Hi Prabhakar,

      You are right. An aspect of Leadership is the ability to have one’s antennae up. But the next question that comes up is, “What is it that blocks most people from getting the antenna up and what needs to be done to make that happen?” My current work with Leadership Incubation and a technology a few of us have collaborated to create attempts to address this lack.

      Thank you for your presence here. I appreciate.



  2. Hi Rajagopal,

    Great thought there. Indeed disruption in a broad context does show up in the way you have articulated. The purpose of my post is however to try and determine what aspects of Leadership need to be present for it to succeed when confronted by rapid changes in technology, processes and customer needs, So really it is narrower, being restricted to the corporate environment.

    At another level, as the corporate ( and industrial) environment gets disrupted, it does bring in significant shifts in the customer expectations which funnels up as the expectations of the society as a whole. This then surely would impact how the society starts perceiving changes in other areas, be in Politics or Governance.

    Shakti Ghosal


  3. Disruption, as a guiding philosophy, pervades all fields, and management is one of those. It is visible in politics as salutary effects of good measures well implemented, ill effects of good policies badly implemented, and destructive impact of sheer short-sighted measures rashly enforced. Disruption is certainly the flavour of the times as a means of ensuring quick success or imminent failure.


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