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The Green Sheet Online Edition

June 10, 2019 • Issue 19:06:01


Leadership for a new era

For some time now, industry experts have advised ISOs and merchant level salespeople to become consultants offering a range of business services, not just payment processing alone. This has been good advice. An industry that once managed to fly under the radar now receives attention from many quarters. Investors see opportunity for lucrative returns, fintechs seek to forge profitable new partnerships, politicians envision a way to shape policy and gain recognition, and certain startups don't just want a slice of the pie – they want to grab the whole thing.

Adapting isn't enough

Given the escalating disruption within payments, I believe it's time we do more than adapt. The question can no longer be, when are you going to stop selling on price and focus on value instead? We need to go further; we can't just hold our ground. We must become disruptors. And to do that we need leaders who can think and lead like disruptors.

"Your company needs people who will question how things are done, innovate, lead the charge and create something entirely new," business consultant Jo Miller stated in a post on the Be Leaderly website.

The questions we now need to ask are, how do you become a disruptor? How do you learn to challenge the status quo and help others do the same? One way to start is to study what qualities leaders of disruptive, innovative companies have in common.

Examining disruptive leaders

After studying current CEOs known for shaking things up, Mark Wilczek, contributor and adviser to CIO US, listed the following as common attributes of today's disruptive leaders. They:

  • Thrive in the face of uncertainty
  • Select their digital-era strength
  • Focus on ideas that leapfrog ahead
  • Start, experiment, learn and repeat
  • Innovate fast

Russell Reynolds, owner of business consulting firm Russell Reynolds Associates, has researched this topic in depth. "In category after category ‒ from having an entrepreneurial spirit to testing limits ‒ this new generation of digital executives consistently scores higher across five broad areas: innovative, disruptive, social adeptness, bold leadership, and determination," he stated.

Cracking the status quo

Russell and his research team also found that productive disruptors are 56 percent more likely to cut through bureaucracy than the broader population of senior leaders, ​52 percent higher in thinking outside the box to get past the precedent and groupthink that commonly cloud strategic decisions, and 49 percent higher in their willingness to challenge traditional approaches.

So how does an aspiring disruptor break with the status quo and do something that's never been done before? Here are four ideas Miller offered:

  1. Identify your allies at work and enlist their engagement.
  2. Take on a challenging project outside of your usual duties.
  3. Assume what you have to say has value, and share your vision.
  4. Reach outside your organization to gain expertise you do not yet possess.

Just imagine where we could all take payments if even just a fraction of us became disruptive forces transforming the industry from within. end of article

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