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Blue Ocean Leadership: Case in Point

A British Retail Group (BRG) applied Blue Ocean Leadership, as developed by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, to redefine what effectiveness meant for frontline, midlevel and senior leaders.

By getting everyone involved in redefining what leaders should be doing the results were rapid and significant. In the space of the first year in the frontline alone:

  • Employee turnover of its 10,000 plus frontline employees dropped from about 40% to 11%
  • Recruitment and training costs reduced by 50%
  • Customer satisfaction rose by over 30%
  • And the group saved more than $50 million

For leaders it was a real ‘win’ since they eliminated and reduced acts and activities which they found tedious and draining. And employees re-engaged because they were led to do what they needed to do to succeed.

The group’s as-is Leadership Canvases revealed how disengaged their people were. They gave each canvas a summary tagline. The tagline for frontline leaders was ‘Please the Boss’, for middle managers it was ‘Control and Play Safe’ and for senior managers it was ‘Focus on the Day-to-Day’.

In contrast, the to-be Leader Profiles are shown below in three separate canvases with each juxtaposing the as-is Leadership Profile of each level with their new to-be Leadership Profile. Click on the below boxes to see each of these: