As we wrap up 2014 and shift our focus to 2015. I have already been thinking about what I plan on accomplishing and what I plan on not accomplishing next year. I recently read the book Blue Ocean Strategy; How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant. The book gives a playbook on four action steps a company can take towards making the competition irrelevant as it states in the title of the book. The book uses the metaphor of oceans and explains that a red ocean is full of companies and products doing the same thing, selling the same things, and focused on the same customers. A blue ocean strategy is where you are out in front, wading in the blue water all alone, because you have created a niche that no other company is competing with you. A good example of companies that have done this would be Southwest Airlines, Apple did it with iTunes, and Google, to name a few.
The four action steps that companies can apply to business are also the same strategies that a person can apply in their own life. These four action steps are the steps I am using in 2015 to create my own blue ocean and make the competition irrelevant.
The four action steps:
1. Eliminate factors: Some companies continue to keep certain features of their products because that is what they have always done and must keep doing. Additionally, the competition has these features so we must keep them as well is the thought process.
Just like a company there are certain things and activities that I have done the past few years that I think I must continue to do for my success, whether it is at work or my personal life. In 2015, I plan on eliminating tasks, activities, and even people who I have thought I needed to continue my personal/professional success or advance my success. I am going to do exactly what the book says that companies should do, I am going to eliminate certain factors that are no longer necessary to my future success.
2. Reduce Factors: My mentor said that sometimes we spend major time on minor things. Companies spend too much time and energy on factors that are well above the necessary requirements from the customer. For example: Having a top of the line break line when a less expensive break line that does the same thing is sufficient enough.
For me in 2015, I am reducing the amount of time I spend on tasks and activities that don’t matter as much. There are many, I am not saying that they are not important tasks, but the amount of time I spend on them should be greatly reduced so I can spend more time on the areas in the next two action steps.
3. Raise up factors: There are some factors of a product that could add a lot of value to the product and the competitive advantage for the company producing the product, if the company would spend more time in raising up the standards in those areas.
In my personal and professional life there are activities that I will raise up and focus on more and raise the standard of which I have been allocating for them. As I stated above, I will spend major time in these areas, because they have the potential to create the blue ocean opportunity for me personally and professionally.
4. Create new factors: In some product lines and industries there are factors that aren’t currently being offered by anybody. This is where the greatest opportunities exist. What do customers want that they don’t even know they want? If you create a product or highlight a feature of a product that is new, a blue ocean opportunity could be created.
This is the area that I am really excited about in 2015. What are some new areas of growth and opportunity for me personally and professionally. What are some areas that I have never thought about focusing on that could bring great value to the marketplace and to my company.
The frameworks of eliminate, reduce, raise-up, and create is an easy process that any of us can apply in our jobs, our departments at work, and as I stated here, in our lives personally and professionally.
To your success and your future.
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