Leadership – Creative Destruction

Hola Todos!

I know this could have an easily been a Friday keyword term but Mr. Mike’s leadership nugget brought it out.  Creative Destruction is one of my favorite terms and I learned it WAY back as a young undergraduate economics student.

In numerous works, Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter emphasized what he called creative destruction whereas “that capitalism can only be understood as an evolutionary process of continuous innovation and creative destruction.” For more detail on Schumpeter, click here.

There are times that the only way to make a giant leap forward is to destroy what you are doing now (e.g., because you current product or service WILL never get THAT much better).  Kill the old and bring in the new.  The funny thing is, very few firms have the “guts” to kill their existing value offering.  Microsoft never did it but Gillette does it almost every time they create a new blade.  Fusion creatively destructed Mach3. Apple is creatively destructing the PC market because the gains in tablets could be three or four times what PC could have been.

Let’s hear it Mike!


To:  The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

“And when we achieve the outer edge of any of our abilities, we do what comes naturally: we keep moving into the next” writes Tracy Saville in her article, Blow It Up: Begin Again.   This is one of the great challenges all great leaders face throughout their professional and personal life: hitting their “proverbial glass ceiling of creativity.”  Their continuous innovation – new ideas, new solutions, new possibilities – all of a sudden come to a point of apparent exhaustion.  So what do they do?  Saville’s response is: “Blow it up and start over.” There is a secret.

“And this is the simplest secret of all: we can rest, we can lay down our efforts for a time, we can do over, start over – again and again it seems – and we can re-charge our batteries using a different fuel source than before.  We can because we must.  This how we find the courage and inspiration to move forward.  The discipline it takes to be comfortable with a life spent in constant change and evolution is the discipline hallmark of every great leader and great achiever.”

John Gardner, author and former Secretary of Health Education and Welfare, wrote:  “Self-renewal is possible if we don’t lose our capacity to learn and grow. But renewal…depends in some measure on motivation, commitment, conviction, the values men live by, the things that give meaning to their lives”.  When you feel you are getting to the outer edge or your abilities, pause and rest.  Blow it up, and begin again. Look beyond the outer edge and find your life’s endless possibilities and beauty.  And have fun doing it.

Have a beautiful day and an incredible week!!!



Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528;

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu

2 thoughts on “Leadership – Creative Destruction

  1. Thanks for the great post, Mike. Reading about creative destruction always brings to mind the often told analogy of the buggy whip company. To keep a company alive, one must not continue to make improvements to the buggy whip when horse-drawn conveyances are being replaced by automobiles. It would have been better for the buggy whip company to destroy its outmoded product in favor of something useful. Perhaps innovating a new complementary product to the automobile such as an auto horn, rumble seat cover, or floor mat would have saved their business. There are plenty of “buggy whip” companies out there right now that are on the cusp of making that critical decision. What would you do if your business were tied up in book binding, manufacturing CD’s, or renting videos from a store-front? Would you see the handwriting on the wall and recognize the advent of the “horseless carraige” if it were changing the face of your industry? Great business leaders and marketing professionals take the time to look for clues signaling destructive innovations in their industry. So take off the rose-colored glasses and put on some x-ray-vision goggles, quick!

  2. Mike – wow how fun when someone quotes you and uses it and gets it right AND they are more brilliant than you! Rock on…I hope you will consider doing some writing for my magazine – leadingpossibilities…go to my website and find publications page for last issue – subscribe – new one out 12/1 and I do weeklies, too. Would love you to consider a regular feature…nicely done.


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