Blue Ocean Strategy: Creating Your Own Market

2 May 2023

In "Blue Ocean Strategy: Creating your Own Market", Max Freedman, the author (along with contributing writers C. Edwards and K. Harrison) lays out the basics of a having a blue ocean strategy, which, in its simplest terms, is about "helping your company gain uncontested market space separate from other, similar businesses."

Pros of a Blue Ocean Strategy point to the benefits of avoiding saturated markets and introducing growth potential. Both attractive benefits, to be sure. On the con side, we should consider that at blue ocean strategy may be too ambitious, too risky and may not be permanent as successful initiatives likely would attract imitators. Both pros and cons should be in forefront of any market analysis. The key to exceptional business success, the authors points out, is to redefine the terms of competition and move into the blue ocean, where you have the water to yourself keeping in mind that the goal of such a strategy is not to beat the competition, but to make the competition irrelevant.

According Freedman, "the best offense … is to make a blue ocean shift and create your own blue ocean. Imitation is not the path to success, especially in the overcrowded industries most companies today confront."

"When there is limited room to grow, businesses should try to look for verticals to find new sectors where they can enjoy uncontested market share." In closing, the authors note, "perhaps it is time for businesses to stop competing and start creating."
#business #growth #strategy #markets #blueocean

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The Leadership Odyssey

HBR Magazine May-June 2023

An article on the new leadership that's worth stealing a few moments from your busy schedule; indeed it's a subject particularly appropriate for these "most interesting" times. What makes a good leader and leadership in general continues to be a hot topic and for that I am thankful because one need not look too far in analyzing the success or failure of an organization. That's a point of view only. How can leaders successfully shift from the more traditional leadership skills to "people skills." We understand from this article, that the terms “soft skills” and “people skills” can refer to a wide range of competencies and capabilities. For most executives, this may represent a confusing road ahead. What are the rules of the road? The article notes that "No leader who has built a career on making expert contributions and exercising hands-on control can be expected to make the leap overnight to a people-centric style." Certainly encouraging, I suppose. Three stages of discovery are put forth to demonstrate how executives can arrive at this "new understanding," this self-revelation, if you will, of who they are as leaders. In the end, one can agree or not with the authors' leadership model. I would suggest that where you stand relative to your leadership skills in leading a team or an organization forward, depends on your proven experiences and your ability to be creative, adaptive, innovative and results oriented. That may well mark me as "old school."

6 Skills Leaders Need in the Digital Age

A fascinating article. An HBR look at leaders who set out to reshape their companies to compete in a fast-evolving digital world and how they often come to a daunting realization: To transform their organizations, they must first transform themselves. 71 percent of 1,500 executives surveyed in more than 90 countries said that adaptability was the most important leadership quality in these times. Respondents also ranked creativity, curiosity, and comfort with ambiguity as highly desirable traits. "It’s the soft skills that I argue are not soft anymore," said one chairman of a major company.Key advice for leaders trying to recalibrate:1. Be a catalyst, not a plannerLeaders must be comfortable moving forward with ambiguous and incomplete information about what’s happening around them and the potential impact of their actions.2.Trust and let got’s important to shake the command-control model, which depends on hierarchy and rules. Leaders must learn to exercise influence without relying on formal authority.3. Be an explorer" An explorer searches with an ambition in mind: What questions must they answer to lead their businesses today and tomorrow? Where might they find the answers?4. Be courageousLeaders need to learn to experiment, iterate, and pivot themselves if their organizations are going to be able to thrive. In order to get comfortable with the inevitable missteps and unconfirmed hypotheses of experimentation, leaders need a new attitude toward risk.5. Be presentThe best leaders stay present and emotionally engaged, communicating openly and authentically. 6. Live values with convictionMany employees will resist changing their mindsets, behaviors, and skills unless they appreciate the value of doing so; leaders need to be clear about not just what they’re doing, but why they’re doing it.

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When Automated Job Interviews Fall Short

What's it like when the interview process has sunk to the very bottom of the well. Careful, your answer is timed and monitored by a friendly Bot who will let you know if you pass muster. They know. Could this process sink any lower and be even more dehumanizing than it already is? I suspect there is still plenty of room left to go. Great insight from an HBR article. A brave new world, indeed.

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Exotic world of ESG derivatives

Caveat emptor or Buyer Beware is once again something we would do well to remember. Investors and believers, in their rush to embrace ESG (Environment, Sustainability and Corporate Governance) the stamp of good corporate behavior and dutifully kneel at the foot of these titans of industry.

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The Global Supply Chain Problem

It was bad enough when prognosticators hinted at Christmas being disrupted by a new COVID surge. We hurriedly covered our children's ears not wanting to frighten them of such a terrible prospect. Now it looks like there's a new Scrooge on the block and one that could prove more daunting than a global health alert.

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China and Congo Mining

China is showing little tolerance with its own companies violating local laws. It's not that they want to be good corporate citizens. Bluntly put, it's a shrewd, strategic move on their part after all, China has a strong presence in the DRC’s mining sector which has abundant copper and cobalt resources.

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The Great Game Redux

Interesting article on the scramble by Central Asian states to cozy-up with Russia and China. Following that sucking sound of US troops leaving Afghanistan, the regional political-military equation is being disrupted, to say the least and Russian-Chinese military cooperation in Central Asia likely will intensify as a result of the U.S. withdrawal.

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It's Time for Leaders to Get Real About Hybrid

While managers may realize that the great work-from-home experiment was surprisingly effective, they also believe that it hurt organizational culture and belonging. Think of it, perhaps as a veiled command and control issue. They are hungry for employees to be back in the office and for a new normal that’s somewhat more flexible but not dramatically different from the one we left behind.

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Is China Trading Growth and Innovation

Interesting article and worth the read. Freedom to allow for technology companies to grow, innovate and thrive in China's command and control environment may have come face-to-face with a disturbing reality.

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