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If I hear the word ‘disruptor‘ again I’m going to scream. If you hear me using it …slap me! I have never been a great fad surfer or believer in the ‘magic bullet’ approach to management. Hell I don’t even like most management speak which I find is techno babble most of the times. I fielded a call at work the other day while having my lunch al desko from a women spruiking a conference to me all about being a disruptor. When I was at school (and I’m showing my age here) the nuns beat the disruption out of you which is why many shy away from anything that directly clashes with the status quo. To do otherwise was to bring down the wrath of Sister Cecily and her thick leather belt tucked inside her burqa (aka habit). Or the modern-day equivalent thereof – a re-programming and re-alignment of your goals with the company’s mission and core values. So I was somewhat shocked to find us at work doing something radically different that has changed/shifted the paradigm perhaps forever in the commercial leasing space.

I’ve been scratching around desperately for a descriptive word for what we are doing and AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!! we are being disruptors. Before you join an orderly queue to whack me around the head a la my earlier invitation I would say in my defence that the word disruption is the most apt (that’s apt kids not app) word for what we are doing. Hence I am re-claiming it, or more accurately jumping on board and using some bang up to date jargon.

By now I can tell I have piqued your interest. What, I can hear you thinking, is so significant that I would bear the wrath of the Sisters of No Mercy to cause such a disruption? The answer is collaborative consumption. It is a true disruptor (there I’m getting quite comfortable with the word now). We’ve been doing it for a while but are taking it up a notch or two with our latest disruption. That, I suspect. is the nature of disruption. If you are annoying in class after a while everyone gets used to you and you need to change tactics.

At CTC, where I work, we created an area where, instead of taking out commercial leasing space to conduct your training (in high risk work licensing competencies such as heights, confined space, scaffolding etc.), you just pay as you use. This means companies are not burdened with the cost of leases or the plant (capital cost) which would lie idle when not being used. Instead they pass the idling risk onto us and we manage that for them. We cherish their brand along the way to ensure that their customers associate their brand with each individual company delivering on each specific day. As far as the customer is concerned that forklift or that elevated work platform belongs to ABC Training Ltd despite the fact that the following day most likely XYZ Ltd is using it. What do ABC care about that. We have created brand recognition for the duration it is needed and that is when the client/customer is interfacing with them. We call it our Big Brand Theory. The area we call Hot Leasing. It’s the commercial leasing equivalent of hot desking. Not very novel you may conjecture…well funnily enough we are the first to do it. We are therefore taking first to market advantage.


To keep it fresh we are promoting an NYOP for January. NYOB stands for Name Your Own Price. Again not particularly new but in our industry pretty damn special. The idea actually came from the band  Radiohead. They made waves in 2007 when they bypassed traditional distribution channels and offered their In Rainbows album for whatever fans wanted to pay. According to Comscore, In Rainbows was downloaded 1.8 million times, generating $2.26 per album (60% opting for the free download). Without costs of production, inventory, shipping or cuts to the middle-man, Radiohead claims it actually made more money off the “pay what you want” release than any other album. So it wasn’t as good as OK Computer but that’s not the point. It showed that doing things differently, turning the tried and tested way of doing things on its head has value.

So for the month of January to use CTC’s Hot Leasing facility you can name your own price. Let’s hope we get more than $2.26 per use but even if we don’t we will still be ahead. The exposure factor alone in marketing terms will pay us back by a factor of around five we estimate. Sometimes the status quo, or the normal way is not the right way to do things.  Sometimes doing what we always did means getting what we always got. I recall in 2000 being asked to manage a major hospital move from an old site to a new one including most of the medical equipment, the staff, medical records and patients etc. The received wisdom was that you did this gradually over a six to eight week period starting first with the relatively low risk areas like Outpatients Department and ending up with the Emergency Department (A&E, ER) having double run it for around a week or so. A colleague of mine and I threw conventional wisdom to the wind and did it all in two weeks starting at the ‘pointy end’ with the Emergency Department and finishing up with the low risk stuff at the back end. The Emergency Departments in both hospitals remained open for an overlap period of just one minute. The whole approach was a disruptor; a challenge to convention. It was true contrarian thinking that won awards and the rest is history. It is now the de rigueur way of moving hospitals worldwide. And all because we shifted the paradigm.

I’ve just reminded myself of that. It all stemmed from being a bit mischievous. So being a disruptor is nothing more than doing things differently; not following the status quo; not complying. Those snotty-nosed kids in the class that were always disrupting things might have something after all. I can just picture Sister Cecily in her hijab taking the white-out to earlier school reports. ‘Johnny is a constant disruption in class – we expect great things from him in the future!’