In their book, Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim and Rene Mauborgne say that most companies exist in a red ocean of competition but would succeed far more by creating blue oceans of uncontested market space.

The same change can be made in our workplaces. Yes, objectives, productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness remain the targets for being competitive and profitable, but the workplace can be arranged so that even higher achievements can be accomplished. A blue ocean workplace will mean that your people and processes will not operate like everyone else. Greater results can come from reaching outside of the norm instead of continuing to be in the same red ocean functioning the way others do.

The key to a blue ocean workplace is changing the way individuals operate. While their purpose is essentially the same, the kinds of people we have, the way they operate, their interaction, their integrated culture, and responsibilities will change. The blue ocean model is founded upon the structure that freedom is there for employees to use responsibly. Therefore, using the blue ocean approach bridges the gap between authority and goal accomplishments. In other words, no longer will an employee be separated from their necessary role in the workplace but will rather be a continuous part. Create your blue ocean workplace with the fundamentals of RESPECT.

Reach for responsibility. It is important in building a blue ocean that organizations reach out and recruit individuals who can take responsible roles. The blue ocean workplace will need individuals with special knowledge and skills, those that can coordinate and create commitment in others. Functional leaders also will be necessary to consult and collaborate with others.

Egalitarian culture creation. A blue ocean workplace is seen as having an egalitarian cultureone in which employees feel free, equal, and unrestricted in their endeavors. For example, all ideas become worthy ideas created with the freedom provided in the workplace. In such a culture, employees do not feel separated by rank or position.

Supporters in place. Provide for supporters not bosses. Employees should have a mindset that they are not working for someone but rather with someone. This leads to more innovation. After all, when the issue of authority is introduced, employees do not feel the empowerment they could feel when working alongside someone in a helpful, non-authoritative environment.

Pace setting. Everyone has a role in setting objectives, and they are responsible for making them happen.

Evidence of natural leadership. Organizations must look for those who have innate qualities of leadership but also those with learned leadership capabilities. In doing so, other employees will feel free to consult with known leaders and also be willing to follow and serve when necessary. Organizations lacking such leadership characteristics fail in going forward and remain stagnant and obsolete in their presence in the marketplace.

Communicate directly. For a blue ocean to exist, communication must be person to person. Furthermore, there shouldnt be any intermediaries. Intermediaries often create more confusion, lack of consistency, and conflicting information.

Task commitment. In a blue ocean environment tasks to be completed and their processes are connected by commitment. As discussed above, there would be individuals that would feel more empowered and loyal due to the new organizational structure. Therefore, its much easier to assign tasks or have a go-to person because they are committed to the organization.


Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Rene Mauborgne.