In 2010, while I was working at Concentra Financial, the late Myrna Bentley, then CEO, caught me in the elevator one day after an executive team strategic planning session I had led, and gave me a surprise gift: the book Blue Ocean Strategy.
It was just one of the many examples of Myrna’s generosity that I witnessed there. And the book ended up having a big influence on my work with many companies.
Written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, the Blue Ocean Strategy approach suggests that a business’ current market is often a bloody ocean, where competitors fight to the death for the same limited set of customers.
The authors describe how to, instead, open up a significant “blue ocean” where competitors have yet to appear.
The book describes structured ways to look for opportunities to fulfil the unmet needs and preferences of non-customers – those who aren’t buying from us or our competitors – opening up a whole new market.
For my clients, the approach has also been helpful for finding a profitable niche within their current market and clarifying their competitive strategy to best meet the needs of that niche. It has also helped reduce costs by identifying and eliminating features customers don’t really value.
I am grateful to Myrna, and all my other mentors, for the models and best practices they’ve shared with me over the years, including Blue Ocean Strategy.
Book: 216 pages. Audio book: 6 hours. Soundview summary: 4 pages, 16 minute audio. GetAbstract summary: 5 pages, 10 minute audio.
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