The insight for Blue Ocean Leadership, created by Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, is that leadership, in essence, can be thought of as a service that people in an organization either ‘buy’ or ‘don’t buy’.

Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne observe that every leader has customers: bosses to whom the leader must deliver performance and followers who need the leader’s guidance and support to achieve.

When people value your leadership practices, they in effect buy your leadership and are inspired to excel and act with commitment. But when employees don’t buy your leadership, they disengage, becoming noncustomers of your leadership.

Once we started thinking about leadership in this way, we saw that the concepts and frameworks we were developing to create new demand in the field of strategy could be adapted to help leaders convert disengaged employees into engaged ones.