Executive Street, the daily blog of Vistage International, recently featured an article by Andrea Simon entitled, “How Do I Do a ‘Blue Ocean Strategy®?’: Step 1.” What follows are excerpts from the article.
Andrea begins by stating, “After completing my three-day intensive certification as a practitioner of ‘Blue Ocean Strategy®,’ it became clear that the one chapter really missing from the book was the ‘How to’ chapter. This, then, is the blog-size version of that chapter so perhaps you can find your own ‘Blue Ocean.’”
What is the problem you are trying to solve?
Typically, Andrea advises, it’s that your company has stalled or failed to sustain profitable growth, and now you find yourself stuck in a very ‘red ocean’ of bloody competition.
The real nemesis here is a business model which pits you against others in your industry.
Or the fact that you’ve attended so many trade shows in your own category that you can almost recite by memory what your competition is doing. Or the problem might be that you keep trying to differentiate your business, your talent, your approach, your processes, and your value proposition from others that are really just like you. Trapped in this zero-sum game, you and they are merely dividing up a highly competitive world into winners and also-rans.
“To a great extent, the strategic models taught in business schools and preached by the leaders in the field—be they Michael Porter or Peter Drucker or Tom Peters or Jim Collins or the rest—tell you to do your SWOT analysis to see where you are strong (leverage it), weak (address it), have opportunities (capitalize upon) or have threats (need to tackle). You define your market and your target customer segments and go at it—trying to find your point of difference and hold onto it in a way that is meaningful to your customers at a price that gives you a margin.”
In Blue Ocean thinking, however, you stop competing altogether.
You make the competition irrelevant by not focusing on existing market space. Rather, you “reconstruct” your market space, creating a new market, adding value in highly innovative ways, tackling the unmet needs and demands of nonusers who found solutions in alternatives to your business offerings, and creating demand, not just fulfilling it.
“Sounds like something you need to get started with, which is often when our clients discover they need a hand in reinventing themselves. But where to begin? Let’s map out the first part of the journey.”
Andrea then providers readers with two crucial things to do in order to bring about true corporate culture change:
1. The first thing to do is to take stock of where your products and services fit in your own industry.
2. The second thing is to take a good hard look at your company today. Do this by drawing a ‘Strategic Canvas.’
Andrea concludes by offering very sound advice to anyone wanting or needing to re-evaluate where their business is going, and more importantly, where they want it to go:
Accept the fact that this is going to be a journey. If you craft your path well, you can capture significant market space in innovative ways and hold onto it until another company leaps over you to create an entirely new market space all over again.
Stay tuned for how to go from your Visual Awakening to finding those opportunities that await you, those unmet needs among non-users who have found other things to do or other solutions to their problems.
To read Andrea’s blog in its entirety on Executive Street, click here.
About Dr. Andrea Simon and Simon Associates Management Consultants
New York-based Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC) serves clients in a wide range of industries from manufacturing, OEMs, customer care, hospitals, and other healthcare institutions to colleges and service industry companies, among others. One of the keys to SAMC’s success is helping the leadership at companies to “see, feel, and think” in new ways. For more information, visit www.simonassociates.net. You also can follow SAMC on Twitter (@andisamc) or Facebook.