20 Mar 2020

How to own all forms of market disruption | Gus Balbontin | Resilience

A picture of and quote by Gus Balbontin

Business resilience in the time of COVID-19.

At ICMI we are fortunate to have Australia’s best business thinkers in our stable. Our speakers are experts in change management, dealing with disruption and guiding businesses through uncharted waters.

The current health crisis presents several challenges in both protecting our staff’s health today, and protecting their income tomorrow as business realities set in. With this in mind, we’ve asked our speakers to share their insights on how businesses can ride the shockwave and minimise the impact.

About the Author:

Investor, entrepreneur, founder and explorer, Gus Balbontin encourages businesses to act now to adjust strategies, products, services and culture to deal with disruption, whatever form it comes in.

Here’s what he had to say:

How to own all forms of market disruption

As I watch the news, I realise that it is probably inevitable that you or your business will face disruption in some way, shape or form. If not, expect it sooner rather than later and remember to use the opportunity as a wake up call; a moment to learn and become more adaptable to whatever comes your way.

Dealing with disruption is a critical capability your business needs to have. The good news is that you are in control, so this is the best time to try and learn new things.

The problem is that we often deal with disruption incorrectly- we panic and we freeze the pieces that are critical to our business, so please:

  • Don’t bunker down- it will blind you with bias.
  • Don’t increase scrutinise everything and force people to feel more afraid of failure- it will stop them from trying to find new solutions.
  • Don’t centralise decision making and take away autonomy and accountability- it will centralise risk to a small handful of people.
  • Don’t think things will go back to normal- it will distract you from learning.

Distribute and delegate power as far and wide across your organization as possible so everyone feels and behaves like adults. Empower them and give everyone the necessary authority to make decisions, to learn, fail, adjust and keep moving. The more diverse and empowered the group of people dealing with the challenge of disruption, the better the odds at finding ways to deal with it.

Please promise me that you don’t take this as a single event! Disruption will continue to take place at an ever-accelerating pace. It makes sense to ensure your business handles it now and continues to move and adapt to the changes that will continue to emerge.

As Lily Tomlin once said: “Somebody should do something about that- and then I realized, I am somebody!”. Remember, willingness and awareness are not enough, so go out and do something!


This article is part of our blog series on business resilience.

Learn more about Gus here

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