14 Entrepreneurs Explain the Best Ways to Encourage a Team to be Disruptive

A satisfied employee will always strive hard to achieve their goals and contribute to your business’ success. As a business owner, it’s therefore important to invest in your team and consider them in change-making processes. They say change is as good as rest and without change, we create barriers in our workplace and become biased in the way we work.

Here are some tips from different entrepreneurs and business owners on the best way they encourage a team to be disruptive.

#1- Unified vision

Photo Credit: Robert Pati

The first step to this is to have the business leader paint a verbal picture for the team so that they can imagine what it would be like working for a company that has accomplished that vision, then remind the team regularly. Have your team each driving the business towards that vision will allow for the business to truly accelerate and disrupt its industry.

Thanks to Robert Patin, Creative Agency Success!

#2- Removing friction

Photo Credit: Josh Rovner

In your meetings about innovation and for yourself as a senior leader as well, ask this simple (but tough) question: What is it that we do that sucks?. Once you list all the answers (according to your customers-and your employees), then you need to do all you can to fix those things. Also ask: What are our competitors doing that really sucks and that we could do better? The iPhone is a great example of a revolution that came from that question. The great part about removing friction and fixing what you or your competitors do that sucks and that your customers (or consumers in general) hate is that it automatically gives you a great company goal.

Thanks to Josh Rovner

#3- Offer incentives

Photo Credit: Chris Gadek

A great way to encourage your team to be disruptive is to offer incentives for great, out-of-the-box ideas. If you've ever seen a leader board, then consider an idea board, where some of the best ideas of the week will be posted. Then, a winner will be awarded, and an incentive offered, whether it be a gift card or some paid time off. Keep in mind that, in the end, the idea doesn't even need to be successful. It's great to get in the habit of rewarding the effort, which will encourage even more people to be disruptive, as they don't have to worry if their idea will actually pan out. It's the creativity that counts!

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Thanks to Chris Gadek, ADQUICK!

#4- Two ways

Photo Credit: CarrieMcKeegan

Encouraging your team to be disruptive is all about the environment that you set and the culture that you build – whether it be in a traditional office setting or working from home. You can begin with your Standard Operating Procedures. Be sure to outline in your general processes that disruption is encouraged, and that you welcome creativity and innovation. Additionally, you can lead by example. Show your team what disruption looks like in action, so that they can step out of their comfort zones and follow your lead.

Thanks to CarrieMcKeegan, Greenback Expat Tax Services!

#5- Bring in an expert

Photo credit: Albert Lee

It is a great technique to bring your team up to date with current practices out of the company. When it comes to embracing disruption, external advisors may help to bring fresh and objective perspectives to the table. They can also share their experiences working with other companies in other industries and this may stimulate innovative ideas and new directions in the company.

Thanks to Albert Lee, Home Living Lab!

#6- Never penalize mistakes

Photo Credit: Mark Webster

Our mentality is simple, if you aren't making mistakes then you aren't taking risks. Without risks, there is no innovation. For that reason, we never penalize a team member for making mistakes. The majority of times they do make a mistake, it's because they've decided to take a leap of faith and try something new. While this concept may sound like something that works better in practice than reality, the key thing is that we always review these mistakes and discuss the best way to move forward to ensure it doesn't happen again. Sometimes this actually unlocks even better ideas when we all sit down and hash out the details so it's a great way to open the floor to new ideas and ensure that none of our team members will be scared to innovate.

Thanks to Mark Webster, Authority Hacker!

#7- Never stop learning

Photo Credit: Tyler Forte

Disruption is about learning new techniques and applying them to your business in a unique way. To encourage this I give each of our employees a monthly budget to spend on the online coursework website Udemy. This policy spans our entire corporate hierarchy and employees are free to purchase courses in whichever subject interests them. For example, one of our developers has taken courses in marketing. Someone on our design team has taken a course on personal finance. This policy not only promotes a culture that prioritizes continuous learning but it also allows our employees to think of new, disruptive solutions to solving problems associated with their core role.

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Thanks to Tyler Forte, Felix Homes!

#8- Provide your team with feedback

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

If you have a good idea for a new offering or service that could be provided or are seeing something trending, like a social media platform, where your company could create a presence and get involved to reach a wider audience, share it with the team. Encourage employees to share any new ideas or thoughts they may have, listen to what they have to say, and see what can be done to strategize on these initiatives and implement them together.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation!

#9- Several Ways

Photo Credit: Lynn Hope Thomas

Create an inspiring goal based on what you want to achieve. New Technology that allows them to explore any new leading-edge technology and to think far into the future. Have also a vision where you want to be in the next decade, 5 decades. Lastly have open communication with all stakeholders and define a flexible and fun communication plan. Audios on mobile are quick and easy and fun.

Thanks to Lynn Hope Thomas, LHT Consulting Ltd!

#10- Weekly brainstorming sessions

Photo Credit: Brittany Hohl

We want our employees to feel safe and encouraged to share their ideas and know that each and every idea is welcomed with positivity and constructive feedback. We create weekly brainstorming sessions where we just sit around (on Zoom now!) and really TALK about our brands and where we see their points of differentiation. It's from there and having that open forum to feel comfortable sharing, that some of our best ideas shine through.

Thanks to Brittany Hoh, Beach House PR!

#11- Empower employees to understand your customer

Photo Credit: Mark Langsfeld

The best way to encourage your team to be disruptive is to empower them with an understanding of the behaviors, attitudes, preferences and engagements of your customers in order to take strategic risks and build informed experiences that ultimately disrupt the market. This means unifying and synthesizing the fragmented internal and external data sources across your organization that reveal insight on the customers' motivations and decisions with your brand and products. If you don't understand your customers you can never effectively motivate them and if you can't motivate them you can't disrupt the market or your competitors.

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Thanks to Mark Langsfeld, mTab!

#12-Three fundamental approaches

Photo credit: Richard Rubenstein

Disruption is a healthy way to rethink fundamental positions on business processes and to develop a pragmatic view in a new climate. The COVID pandemic by its very nature has necessitated such adaptation and change. We encourage disruptive initiative by staff, provided that it is in brand alignment. Successful approaches that have been tested by our team include reaching new channels for communication, expanding outreach to different verticals, and vigorously rethinking unnecessary elements of a brand. Paring down to essentials can be disruptive, especially when it is supported by a growth-oriented culture.

Thanks to Richard Rubenstein, Rubenstein Public Relations!


Photo Credit: Dennis Bell

It's an open innovation and a smart way to promote disruption by collecting ideas from different people. It can also provide a forum in your organization that can help to address better your customer's needs and employee's work effectiveness and efficiency. Employees need to feel engaged. The more they communicate, the more opportunities can be discussed to benefit the company, employees, and clients upon disruptions.

Thanks to Dennis Bell, Byblos Coffee!

#14- Social listening and encourage new ways of thinking

Photo credit: David Adler

In order to be disruptive in a way that still serves your customers you first need to have your finger on their pulse and be paying attention to what your customers are saying so that your innovation still solves their problem rather than just being different for the sake of being different. You should also try to encourage new ways of thinking and doing without rigid expectations for outcomes so people feel free to experiment.

Thanks to David Adler, The Travel Secret!

What are the best ways to encourage your team to be disruptive? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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