Deliberately Disruptive: Strategic Approaches to Digital Evolution in Times of Crisis
Often attributed to Winston Churchill, the concept of „never letting a crisis go to waste” may seem like a rather negative and pessimistic attitude toward leadership and innovation.
In general, we’re used to inspiration and motivational quotes that take a more positive and cheerful tone.
While they make us feel good, they may not necessarily inspire us to reflect and respond in ways that truly push us to consider the potential benefits that emerge when unexpected crises become pivot points for personal and professional evolution.
Adopting a framework of „Deliberate Disruption” enables us to reconsider, reevaluate, and reconfigure the tactics and strategies that enable our organizations, our employees, our stakeholders, our customers, and our communities to adapt and grow during times of significant change.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges in every market, and it has impacted nearly every person on the planet in direct and indirect ways.
In this article, we’ll briefly explore how to leverage the crisis through the lenses of Deliberate Disruption and Digital Evolution in ways that deliver win-win-win outcomes for recruitment, retention, and relationship management.
All outsourcing roads are starting to lead to Romania, and the pandemic has created scenarios where many well-educated and multilingual Romanians have come home.
Many plan to stay, but they want job security AND positions that enable them to learn and grow, personally and professionally.
As we’ve learned from our colleagues, many employees are adapting to the challenges of working remotely “in real time” … while their employers are scrambling to reorganize and rethink how to evolve and respond.
So how can we find a “silver” lining despite the chaos and uncertainty? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are things that we can do in order to maintain our momentum if and/or when life returns to “normal” at some point in the future.
While many of us have (and continue to) make data-driven decisions, the pandemic has also created a unique set of conditions that have invited reactive instead of proactive responses to internal and external challenges, constraints, and crises.
I don’t know about you, but this year has provided us with a lot of time to rethink our values and priorities — both personally and professionally. Here at Eucom, we leaned IN and we drew from our commitments to agility, employee engagement, and a growth mindset to ensure that the pandemic was not a negative disruption.
Instead, we engaged in a 360 degree evaluation that led us to embrace the value of combining “Deliberate Disruption” and Digital Evolution in ways that relate to our four core values: IMPROVEMENT, COMMITMENT, PARTNERSHIP, AND EXCELLENCE.
Let’s return to Churchill’s idea for a moment.
Every one of us here today has a mission and vision … but what happens when an unexpected crisis forces us to tear up the map and find a new route to our intended destinations?
Sure, we can fail hard and fail fast if we’re trying to find that path on our own.
Or, we can take a closer look at our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats through a new set of lenses and in partnership with others who can help blaze the new path by our side —at an appropriate social distance.
In all seriousness, we’ve discovered that employees’ priorities and motivations have also evolved during the pandemic. And so, too, have customers’.
Economic uncertainty, unemployment, and a host of “unknown unknowns” have made it difficult to accurately and confidently predict a range of metrics from churn to turnover.
However, three things remains clear.
1. Perhaps more than ever before, employees are looking to us to help them find stability and to continue investing in their personal and professional growth. If we cannot provide that for them, then we are at risk of losing our greatest asset — our talent — to a competitor who can and will. 2. Our customers and partners are looking to us to deliver excellence, value, and a higher ROI now that revenues are down across many sectors. If a partnership is no longer perceived as beneficial or is failing to deliver the benefits and benchmarks embedded in its SLA, then it’s more likely to churn as cost-cutting measures become more conservative in the face of uncertainty.
3. There are a lot of talented, yet unemployed (or underemployed) people in our applicant pools. It’s critical that we use the right tools and assessments to ensure that we are able to recruit, hire, train, and retain the best and brightest talent that Romania has to offer. And we are lucky because we have a lot of it. So where does all of this lead us?
Finding that unicorn — the “win-win-win” situation — may not be so difficult after all.
As our industries, sectors, verticals, and channels evolve — and the tools, tactics, and technologies that we use evolve at the same time, there’s one element that provides a strategic advantage to remaining agile and profitable regardless of what we make or the services that we provide: multilingual capabilities.
What does that have to do with Deliberate Disruption? I’m so glad that you asked! Michael Raynor, a thought leader at Deloitte and author of „The Innovator’s Manifesto” suggests that deliberate disruption promises much greater predictability in the realm of creating and sustaining new businesses, new initiatives, and remaining agile so that we can respond to unexpected situations in a proactive — instead of reactive — ways.
He defines disruption as „a theory of innovation — of how particular types of new products and services, or solutions, come to achieve success or domination in markets, often at the expense of incumbent providers.”1
However, Raynor was neither the first nor the last to adopt the concept of „creative destruction” from political economy and philosophy and repurpose it in order to help us improve what he calls predictive power and explanatory power to develop practical, applied approaches toward, to paraphrase BASF’s well-known marketing slogan, do what we do … better.
Our colleagues at Deloitte updated this idea again in 2016 by proactively combining it with Agile and Design Thinking … and they identified four roadblocks to success:
2. Siloed Thinking
3. Outmoded Models
4. Skills Gaps
And, of course, they identified several paths to success.
However, all of them require a “seismic shift in corporate mentality: one that recognizes that the traditional way of setting strategic plans can no longer deliver sustainable competitive advantage. The focus is not on predicting the path to the future. It’s on developing a process that is sufficiently flexible, fluid and agile so that you can dynamically shift your strategy as the future unfolds.” 2
What does this have to do with multilingual capabilities? Again, I’m so glad that you asked. The short answer? Enabling your business to meet the needs of a global client base with professionalism by doing so in their own language and expanding your market share.
Partnering with Eucom — whether it’s taking by advantage of our pre-hire language assessment services or taking advantage of our language training and continuous improvement programs that enable your employees to improve their fluency or learn new languages — enable you to remain agile and disruptive regardless of what the next major crisis may be, as well as navigating the current one.
Our services make it possible for you to hire the best possible candidates and verify their fluency by engaging in a range of qualitative and quantitative assessments with our team of native speakers who use a combination of CEFR and proprietary standards to ensure that your candidates’ claims with respect to knowing a language or languages are verified before you invest in onboarding them.
Moreover, our language training services are available in both a traditional format and an agile, sprint-based format that enables your employees to learn and practice speaking, writing, listening, and reading on any device, at any time, in more than 25 languages.
Research shows that employees who have access to perks that enable them to improve their personal and professional skills are more likely to remain loyal, engaged, and to seek new opportunities for promotion within the organization. Until — and when —it’s possible to return to a traditional office setting, these options make it possible for your employees to learn at their own pace and “deliberately disrupt” traditional approaches to learning and/or further developing their fluency.
Finally, multilingual employees make it possible to build and sustain authentic relationships and connections with your customers and clients by meeting them in their language — whether it’s Hebrew, Japanese, Arabic, German, or any of the 33 languages that Eucom supports. In closing, there are many unknown unknowns as we look ahead to 2021. How can we help you turn them into known knowns?
1.The Innovator’s Manifesto: Deliberate Disruption (2011)
2. Deloitte: “Disruption By Design: Agile Strategy for the New World” (2016) — https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ca/ 2