On Wednesday morning, I and most of the world woke up to a big surprise: Donald Trump had become the next president of the United States.  Why were the pundits, analysts, and pollsters so wrong about predicting the outcome?

The great George Bernard Shaw once said, “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.”  In the case of this year’s election, everybody was so focused on predicting the future by interpolating the past, they missed the point.   

Donald J Trump did not dwell on the past, but he perceived the now and won the election.  Following are three lessons learned from the Trump campaign that can be applied to every business.

Know Your Market’s Sentiment

For all his blistering, it is clear President-elect Trump tapped into the sentiment of the voting public.  As well, you as a business need to completely understand the feelings and emotions of your customer.  This does not imply how you want your customer to feel, but taking the time to hear their perspective.

Just about all marketing books I read say to “get into the mind of you customer”.  But, this is not about reassuring your product’s placement in the market.  To be disruptive means understanding what your customer needs next.  Think about how your company can expand to satisfy another need beyond what you already deliver.

Focus on Outcomes

Currently in the United States, winning an election is based on the Electoral College.  Winning an election is not about the popular vote.  The Trump strategy was to focus on the Electoral College.

When you are reviewing your company and the products or services it delivers, do not simply consider the size of the market you are serving.  Do your offerings satisfy the largest need possible to support your growth?

To be disruptive requires your ability to see where the markets are heading.  Nobody wants to accept an award for being the lead provider of last decade’s most popular product.  Consider how your company can position itself to take advantage of current market directions.

Prepare to Disrupt

Now for the secret sauce.  Too many companies think in the short term, and this applies to the use of technology.  Technology enables commerce, but it can also prevent your company from sowing the proverbial seeds.

When investing in technology, you must consider more than just what it can deliver today.  It must be flexible to adapt to the future.   So, companies focus their attention on managing in an agile way.  Unfortunately, agile seems to stop with the management style.

Being agile is about constructing your products and services to be flexible for future needs.  To be disruptive means adjusting to future markets quickly.  This will require experienced people guiding you through the technology.  And, you must consider the actual design of your systems as part of this strategy.

Do not be left holding the chilled champagne at a conciliatory celebration… win the election!