“Disruptive technology” is the new buzz phrase in business. It’s described as innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually displaces earlier technology. Companies invest dollars in R&D (research and development) to remain relevant, be disruptive and not turn into the next dinosaur.
An equal number of dollars should be invested in another type of R&D: recruiting and development of people. Innovation is really great when it’s accompanied by equally great people.
Last week, I traveled to Poland to speak at the Harvard Business Review. The Boeing Dreamliner lived up to expectations. But what really made the trip across the ocean great were the excellent flight staffers of LOT Polish Airlines. They smiled, didn’t act like work is work and attended to each passenger’s every need.
What made a long trip great? The innovation behind the Dreamliner or the excellent flight attendants? It was a combination of both.
In Warsaw, I stayed at the Intercontinental hotel. To my dismay, I quickly realized that I had purchased the wrong adaptors. A really bad hair day loomed ahead. I journeyed to the front desk to ask where I could purchase this “thingy majiggy.” The bellman overheard the conversation. Five minutes later, he showed up at my door, smiling and handing me an adaptor. My stay and hair were about to get much better! Was it the lovely hotel or the people working at the hotel that turned me into a raving fan?
The Harvard Business Review staffers were very gracious. They are bright people, scoring high in IQ and equally great in EQ. The team took time to educate me on the nuances of Polish businesses and business people. All the small details were handled, leaving me time to focus on delivering a compelling presentation. Hmmm. Anyone see a theme here?
Perhaps one of the best ways to provide disruption isn’t anything new. Instead, it’s doing what’s always worked: Recruiting and developing great people.