Blue Ocean Leadership
W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne discovered in their decades long study on business strategy that making the competition irrelevant by not directly competing (in a Red Ocean), meant that businesses could carve out new markets (in Blue Oceans). The conept was a breath of fresh air to businesses wrapped up in the preverbial race to the bottom on pricing and razor-thin margins focused more on beating their competitors than attracting and retaining customers with something of value.
This paradox appears to extend to leadership approaches as well. When Kim and Mauborgne studied GALLUPs research on employee engagement, they began to wonder whether employee engagement had more to do with a fail point in leadership than some failing on the part of employees. They found that managers at all levels (front-line, middle, and senior) spent a lot of time on activities that provided little to no value for customers, employees, or the organization.
The most profound discovery is that, "leadership, in essence, can be thought of as a service that people in an organization “buy” or “don’t buy.”" When you look at it that way, suboridnates, peers, and colleagues have a lot of power; and they had some very interesting things to say when asked to describe what leaders actually do versus what they should be doing:
- Front-line Managers spend time pleasing the boss, when they should be cutting through to serve customers
- Middle Managers spend time controlling and playing it safe, when they should be liberating, coaching and empowering their people
- Senior Managers spend time focused on the day-to-day, when they should be delegating and charting the company's future
When leaders stopped doing the activities perceived to hold people back, and started to perform the activities associated with insiping people to give their all, the researchers found that, "leaders at all levels reported feeling less stressed, more energized by their ability to act, and more confident that they were making a contribution to the company."
If what the people want is Blue Ocean Leadership, why not give it to them? We can help! BreakThroughs, Inc., has deep knowledge of GALLUP's work on engagement and we build High Performance Cultures in organizations that incoprorate Kim and Mauborgne's four principles: fair process, engagement, explanation, and expectation of clarity. Don't alter who you are, let us help you discover your strengths so that you may put your talents to work on transforming your organization.