Disruptivity – Dramatically Improve Your Business

disruptivity with Tesla and lean six sigma toolbox

We are well into 2020 and that means the team at Lean Six Sigma Toolbox has just one thing on our minds, strategy! Does your 2020 strategic plan include being disruptive? If not might I suggest adding a single Strategic Objective to your annual plan, DISRUPTIVITY. And I’ll give you 3 ways you can do it.


Noun, /disˈrəptˈtivədē/ A thing that a person or group does or has done
to drastically improve their business

Disruptivity is the action you will take this year to disrupt your _______________ (insert what needs disrupting here). This may be creating a new product or service that disrupts your market but more often than not what really needs disrupting is your internal operations. After all you cannot disrupt a market if the cogs of your inner machine are dusty and archaic.

Here’s an example of how disrupting the process first can help you disrupt your market.

We have 4 kids in our family, 5 if you count me which my wife definitely does, and we need an AWD vehicle to get us up to the slopes here in Utah. When you are shopping for an AWD there are 2 obvious choices for the average consumer (I’m joking of course).  

  • The Tesla Model X – starting around $80k
  • Porsche Panamera – starting around $80k
disruptivity with Tesla and lean six sigma toolbox

Both vehicles are very cool and will get my family up the snowy road but here’s the difference. The Tesla travels 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and has a “Ludicrous Speed” of 3.2 seconds. That is 0.2 seconds faster than most Lamborghinis! For a 7 Seater! With snowboards on the back!

In contrast the stock Porsche works its way up to 60mph in 6 seconds. Roughly the speed of a V6 Toyota Camry. Want 4-wheel drive and an under 5 second time? Add $50k to the price of the Porsche.

Tesla is clearly disrupting the market not only for high end luxury vehicles but for the automotive industry as a whole. What dad out there doesn’t want a family SUV that doubles as a race car? This dad does. What is important to note is that Tesla’s disruption of the market came after the process of designing and building a car was completely altered. “Why do we need a gas motor? Why does an SUV’s center of gravity have to be so high? Why can’t we have gullwing doors?”

How can you get your company to be more disruptive like Tesla? First we need to disrupt our own paradigm. This is an intentional act with well thought out consequences and deliverables. Would delivering your product to your customers in ½ the time of your competitors disrupt the market? If so then you need to disrupt your supply chain and production processes. Would providing a product with luxury brand quality at entry level prices disrupt your market? If so then you need to disrupt your team’s process for listening to customer feedback and building quality at the source.

Here are 3 easy activities your team can perform right now in the spirit of Disruptivity.

  1. Start with the Ultimate
  2. Leverage Outsiders
  3. Create a mutant

1. Start with the Ultimate. Thank goodness for Mike Rother’s book Toyota Kata which freed the Lean Six Sigma world from focusing on the problems. Finally someone said, “Let’s focus on what could be!” What would the Ultimate process, Ultimate product, Ultimate customer service look like? Start with that vision and watch your team’s excitement grow as they find ways to solve problems and move toward that Ultimate Goal. With a shared vision of success your team will find the obstacles in their way are much smaller than they first appeared.

2. Leverage Outsiders I have been teaching Lean and Strategy Execution to companies around the world for almost 20 years now and I’m really good at it for one simple reason. I have no idea what their process is so I ask a lot of questions. “Why do you do it that way? Where does this belong? How does management communicate their goals to you?” An outsider’s perspective can really help you see your business in a new light, question everything, and make important changes.

3. Create a Mutant I love the pick-up dry cleaning business where you put your clothes in a bag by your front door and a day later they come back cleaned and pressed. Someone, “they”, took the convenience of fast food delivery and paired it with universal need to clean your clothes. The result is a great service we all love. When I created KPI Fire 2 years ago I took popular Lean and Six Sigma methods and merged them with Organizational Design and Strategic Planning. What resulted is a beautiful mutation of these ways of thinking that produces incredible synergy and results in a way never seen before. Which of your processes, products, or services could you combine to create a beautifully disruptive mutant?

As we work to achieve our 2016 goals of increasing revenue, cutting costs, and improving quality let’s not forget that to reach a significantly higher level of performance we need to disrupt our processes. Let’s start with a lofty impossible to reach goal and re-envision what could be.  Then let’s Kaizen, break apart the process and with an outsider’s perspective to remove the cobwebs. Finally let’s create a mutant, a hybrid, that outperforms everything we’ve done in the past.

Let’s wow our customers with excellence in 2016!


Cedro Toro