In order to be a great leader, you must have the ability to innovate and adapt to any changes that come your way.
All industries constantly evolve as technology develops. To be a successful leader in an evolving industry, professionals need to anticipate change and forecast what those changes might include. Furthermore, inspiration to innovate and overcome challenges can be drawn from thought leaders within respective verticals. The following are excellent examples of leaders who consistently think ahead in order to be successful and raise the bar for those around them.
Howard Schultz was the CEO of Starbucks from 2008 to 2017. Schultz began his career in the coffee industry as the director of marketing at Starbucks. After a trip to Italy in the early 1980s, he returned to the U.S. with a desire to incorporate more of Italy’s coffee culture into Starbucks’ offerings. His plan to create a café atmosphere is what truly set Starbucks apart from other coffee shops and helped it become the booming business it is today.
In this case, Schultz drew inspiration from a foreign marketplace. You don’t have to aspire to be an international company in order to incorporate ideas that have global appeal. You can fill a service void and improve the viability of your business by gaining a broader perspective. You just need to understand your market, how it is shifting, and then give your business a unique competitive edge.
Mark Hurd is a cloud technology pioneer. His ability to foresee cloud growth and then pivot Oracle to a cloud-based software company has enabled customers across the globe to seize business opportunities and solve real, tangible challenges in cloud storage, communication, computing, finance and more. Under Hurd’s leadership, the company also acquired NetSuite, the world’s first cloud company, for $9.3 billion. This acquisition put Oracle in a position to expand and offer better service a smaller company market.
Hurd anticipated industry changes, which was critical to the evolution and success of Oracle’s business strategy. The more forecasting you can do as a business, the better equipped and more successful you will be when adapting to change.
In the early 2000s, Jonah Peretti discovered a new way that news could be consumed online. He co-founded The Huffington Post in 2005 and founded Buzzfeed in 2006, both of which have experienced unparalleled success. What started out as a news website that gathered and shared stories from across the web has progressed into a popular site that shares entertaining multimedia content, such as personality quizzes and listicles, alongside the more serious breaking news pieces. With this transition, Buzzfeed found a way to create a hub that all types of users want to visit to find both news and entertainment on the Internet.
Instead of assuming the news was better handled by big names in online reporting, Peretti created his own source for the public to learn about news online and found a unique way to deliver it.
Look at your business opportunity through the same lens. Is there a unique or more effective way to deliver it? This example shows that technology and the way it evolves can give anyone a unique opportunity to provide a viable service, even in spaces where much bigger companies play. How can you use technology to iterate on a business concept and make it a unique offering?
Similar to the Peretti example, Brian Chesky decided to incorporate technology and apps into another everyday task – booking travel accommodations. Chesky is the CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, a peer-to-peer housing rental site and app used all around the world. Airbnb allows users to easily find a place to stay at any location, including areas that were previously difficult to visit due to a lack of hotels or inns. Chesky decided to help simplify the search for accommodations and gives users the option to immerse themselves in the culture of the area they’re visiting.
Brian Chesky created a site that allows anyone to become an innkeeper. He found a way to not only benefit those looking for a different option while traveling, but created a way for locals to make money. A good lesson to take from Chesky’s innovation is to search for ways in which change can benefit multiple groups of people.