Harvard Business Review: Blue Ocean Strategy & Leadership
Five years ago a good friend and trusted colleague emailed me an article from The Harvard Business Review titled Blue Ocean Strategy; and, attached to the email was the message “Call me right away!” (And for those of you reading in judgement (yes you) let’s keep in mind I went to a State school and I hadn’t heard of the book much less the strategy (and yes I know I spelled judgment incorrectly-see you are a little judgie). So settle in because you may just learn a little something.
It wasn’t new for us to send each other interesting business articles or for us to bounce ideas off of each other. In fact in the weeks preceding I had called him about an idea I was working on for a marketing project I was creating. Something I was doing wasn’t working (let me put that in context-I felt that even though I was achieving success-something was missing with my current strategy). And even though competition had been introduced to the market and there was widespread panic in the company I wasn’t fazed. This is one area I didn’t see competition. I don’t say that arrogantly about my ability or the product; but, rather I wanted to fill a need the customer didn’t even yet know existed. I was going to create my own market.
For about three months I did tons (very scientific term) of research and was able to identify a future problematic trend and developed a marketing strategy that identified the trend as well as showed how to prevent it from happening if action was taken about three to six months ahead of time. Again, my thoughts of “no one wins until everyone wins” (and no this isn’t everyone gets a trophy) were not common much less popular in my industry but this was about truly creating a relationship between customer and client while working together to create positive change.
This is what my friends refer to as my “crystal ball.” (Don’t tell them it’s not, it’s just a lot of analysis of a situation, being able to read trends and project what will happen next using, in part, fact based evidence over time; and, well I’m like a dog with a bone until I find several acceptable solutions). As with most things in life we play catch up and try to fix problems after they happen; and, we’re less concerned with preventing them (a theme I expose often on this site with Big Business and Big Government.)
My friend was so excited he could barely catch his breath as he shouted over the phone, “Everything you’re doing is exactly what this article is talking about. And I know you haven’t read it-there weren’t pictures of really expensive shoes anywhere in or around the article.” Yes, I recognize that to most that would be insulting but again, context, “You mean The Ocean Blue article you sent me? I haven’t read it yet.” He patiently responded “Melayna, it’s Blue Ocean (The Ocean Blue was a band I listened to in college-oops!).
I preface this next part with: No slide presentation should EVER be over 10 slides. EVER. If it is it means that your ideas or concepts aren’t drilled down to the easiest level yet. Not to mention you can keep people’s attention for at least four slides but anything after that unless you’re shooting fireworks out your ass you aren’t likely to keep their attention.
So the first four slides should be the presentation and the remaining six are to help further illustrate the point if need be. But if you know what you want to say concisely you can nail any presentation in four slides.
And with that I give you the first four slides of 14 from Blue Ocean Strategy (this is an summary done by Jay Robinson who clearly does not know my 10 slide rule):
So without even knowing it I successfully used the Blue Ocean Strategy (in my head I still call it Ocean Blue and have to catch myself when making the recommendation-although the band is good too). I kept competition out of my territory for a very long time which prompted the use of this unethical tactic used by my competition as reported back to me by my customer: “He came in here and handed us an order form, said these were “new” and an extension of your product that the doctor wanted to try.” The account, confused if I all of a sudden had an assistant, called me to verify the “new” product. The dishonest rep was kicked out of the hopsital and it only helped solidified my relationship with the hospital. Shady and the stuff sales legends are made of (but not in a good way).
This site often demonstrates when startups use tactics from The Sociopathic Business Model™ and reps who have to pathologically lie and manipulate facts, while not recognizing the rights of others in most industries would get someone fired but not in startup device-it sadly gets people promoted. Encouraging, replicating and rewarding unethical and or illegal behavior so the “company” can become successful should make all of us stop and think if that’s a company we’d want to support as patients, consumers (or investors in an IOP), employees or taxpayers.
Let’s also remember the trigger to the The Sociopathic Business Model™ is sexism, racism, and retaliation. So we should expect to see an unethical startup turned IPO have a tough time leaving hold habits behind or worse the unchecked unethical & or illegal activity will escalate.
An example of such behavior is having a male manager call a female employee a few days before maternity leave and threatening job loss, manipulating facts, creating hopelessness in the female victim and inconsistently and contradictorily using promised earned bonus as a means of retaliation for taking maternity leave.
Unethical companies should take note that due to the Hobby Lobby decision the U.S. Supreme Court personified a company and now a company under the same ruling can be sued for sociopathic behavior.
Remember you must be your own advocate when it comes to your health or your career.