Frog design’s Tim Leberecht writes at Fast Company that companies should court internal opposition before an external competitor threatens you. It’s a counterintuitive yet refreshing look at how to combat the corporate doldrums — that is, the period when your company is coasting instead of competing, reacting instead of acting.
Companies are beginning to realize that opposition is vital and a certain amount of conflict healthy. Some have even launched internal disruption units that can drive radical innovation from left field (e.g., Anheuser-Busch’s Beer Garage or Google X). As an alternative, companies may also bring in agencies and consultancies–hired opposition–with the mandate to disrupt conventional thinking and overcome groupthink and organizational myopia. The caveat here is that these outside interventions can lead to changes that fail to become a part of a company’s cultural fabric for the long term.
Leberecht’s suggestions? Keep resistance flowing long after rollout, acknowledge that corporate culture isn’t one-note, and turn your authority-averse Millennial employees on to it, for both engagement and retention. (Otherwise, they’ll move to a competitor, where they’ll disrupt you anyway.)
“Employees as innovators strive to find better ways of doing business,” Leberecht writes, “instead of just following the business-as-usual manual.”