BLUE OCEAN LEADERSHIP
Kim & Mauborgne, Harvard Business Review
Summary: Ten years ago, two INSEAD professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne broke ground by introducing “blue ocean strategy,” a new model for discovering uncontested markets that are ripe for growth. In this article, Kim and Mauborgne apply their concepts and tools to what is perhaps the greatest challenge of leadership: closing the gulf between the potential and the realized talent and energy of employees.
Research indicates that this gulf is vast: According to Gallup, 70% of workers are disengaged from their jobs. If companies could find a way to convert them into engaged employees, the results could be transformative. The trouble is, managers lack a clear understanding of what changes they could make to bring out the best in everyone. Here, Kim and Mauborgne offer a solution to that problem: a systematic approach to uncovering, at each level of the organization, which leadership acts and activities will inspire employees to give their all, and a process for getting managers throughout the company to start doing them.
Blue ocean leadership works because the managers’ “customers”—that is, the people managers oversee and report to—are involved in identifying what’s effective and what isn’t. Moreover, the approach doesn’t require leaders to alter who they are, just to undertake a different set of tasks. And that kind of change is much easier to implement and track than changes to values and mind-sets.