Dirk Beveridge

We are living in disruptive times.  In fact 76% of distributors surveyed believe we are living in an environment we could call the age of disruption. Leaders throughout the industry are challenged by the constant pressures that come at them from all directions. The pressures could be competitive from the marketplace, or come as a result of new government regulations, shifting demographics, the accelerating pace of technology, and more.  Navigating these big shifts to create a sustainable and relevant business has become the new mandate for every leader and every employee in distribution. Innovation is at the core of this new mandate.  Innovative distributors will ensure those on their team relish the challenge – and feel prepared to be a part of change and transformation – that comes with innovation.  They will empower those individuals to think critically about how to improve their companies – and to take action on their ideas.  For innovation to take place, your employees – every one of them – must be prepared, willing, and excited to look at the business as if they have never seen it.  They must understand that the ability to transform for the future resides within them. And, here is the good news… 95% of leaders surveyed feel personally empowered to be a disruptive change agent within their business.  If this is you, INNOVATE! is for you. Throughout this indispensable book, Dirk Beveridge delivers a new voice, a new energy, and a new outlook for distributors.


Best Seller TV :: Dirk Beveridge, Innovate!

President and CEO of 4th Generation Systems, Dirk Beveridge sits down with host Taryn Winter Brill to discuss his new book “Innovate!”.  Beveridge shares his ideas on why innovation is imperative in order to remain relevant in the future.

About Blog :: The Tyranny of the Urgent

As I researched the $5 trillion distribution industry on the state of innovation, one CEO suggested that, “Less than 10% of distributors are prepared or are preparing for the future.”   The industry as a whole is not focusing on the future to the degree that it needs to. And if you are not focused on the future, you are not innovating.

Why are so few distributors focused on the future despite the disruptive forces bearing down on the industry? The answer is “the tyranny of the urgent.” Of those industry leaders surveyed, 78% feel they get trapped in the tyranny of the urgent and don’t focus enough on creating the company’s future.

When we look at wholesale distribution we find a busy and complex business. Julia Klein, chairwoman and CEO of hardware and building supplies distributor C.H. Briggs says that: “Distribution is a busy business. The rat race of products and transactions causes people to overlook trying new ideas.” We are so bogged down in the day-to-day work of running our businesses that we don’t take the time to examine the larger picture.

As we move thousands of SKUs from manufacturer to market, complexity creeps in. Issues, problems, and challenges arise that force us to stay mired in the day-to-day. There are sales numbers that need to be made, products to be sourced, warehouses organized, customers to be serviced, health care costs to be managed, employees to be hired and others transitioned out, software upgrades implemented—the lists goes on.

One CEO summed it up this way: “The majority of distributors are dealing with the day-to-day. ‘Where am I going to get my next order from to pay the bills?’”

With this “busyness,” we are trapped in the tyranny of the urgent, leaving no room to consider the future and develop the strategies that will allow us to become the disrupters rather than the disrupted. The tyranny of the urgent is not isolated to small distributors, large distributors, building material, or pharmaceutical distributors. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer shared some advice from a CEO friend of hers during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in 2013: “He told me that I would be shocked by how few decisions I actually had to make—but that the ones I did have to make would have to be perfect. So I would say if I view myself in that lens, I should be making fewer decisions.” She added that she needs to remember not “to get pulled into the fray of the day-to-day.”

The tyranny of the urgent is real. When a leader is focused on short-term problem solving—that is, the fray of the day-to-day—any enhancements to the business are limited to incrementally improving the efficiency of existing operations. And thus the gravitational pull to the status-quo plants our feet firmly in the crises du jour. The tyranny of the urgent is a disease that saps the will, energy, and focus of many leaders. It creates a void of value-adding innovations—and certainly game-changing innovations.

Think of any great innovation and you’ll find the company and its leaders had to discipline themselves to work on the business:

  • If Apple was consumed by the production, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of the iPhone, there would be no iPad.
  • If Walt Disney was consumed with simply drawing a better mouse, there would be no Disneyland.
  • If W.W. Grainger was consumed with improving the efficiencies of its will call desks, there would be no e-commerce platform generating billions of dollars in sales.
  • If Tony Heisch, Founder of Zappos, was consumed by the process of picking, packing, and shipping shoes, his start-up would not have created its innovative customer service culture.

Innovation requires vision. And vision requires you escape the tyranny of the urgent.

Book Trailer :: Innovate!

Author Dirk Beveridge shares the details surrounding his new book Innovate! and the lessons and strategies readers will learn.

About the Author

Of Dirk Beveridge, William Taylor, Co-Founder of Fast Company magazine said: “Every field has its rabble rousers, change agents, thought leaders-people with the wisdom to understand the past, and the creativity to conjure up a new vision for the future.  In the field of wholesale distribution, Dirk Beveridge is that thought leader.”

Dirk Beveridge is a leading advocate of change and innovation.  As one of the country’s most outstanding speakers, he delivers a new voice, a new energy, and a new outlook.

Dirk’s presentations are unparalleled.  He delivers original, proven, and often disruptive thinking.  His energy and passion for excellence are infectious and inspires audiences to step from the zone of comfort to unleash the urgency of change. Beveridge is routinely asked to speak on innovation, business strategy, sales, and leadership.

As an entrepreneur Beveridge noticed that innovation was bypassing wholesalers and distributors, and founded UnleashWD in 2012 which is setting a bold agenda for the 300,000 businesses in the country.  The UnleashWD Innovation Summit is an essential annual event.  This one-of-a-kind summit delivers an outstanding immersive experience through amazing speakers, inspired networking and relevant application.

Dirk’s latest book INNOVATE! How Successful Distributors Lead Change In Disruptive Times has been called, “Indispensible,” “A must read” and “One of the best business books I have ever read” by CEOs.  Writing about INNOVATE! former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, Admiral James Stavridis (Ret) observed: “At the heart of any healthy industry is innovation — the ability to change as circumstances dictate with agility and intelligence.  In INNOVATE! Dirk Beveridge provides a roadmap for creating innovation.  This is an instant classic, and has wide applicability not only in the complex world of distribution, but in the widest sense.”

For over 25 years as a consultant to a wide range of companies, Beveridge has helped leading firms align, focus, and strengthen their sales and leadership strategies to remain relevant, outperform the market, and provide deeper value to customers.

Recent Books