Tipping Point Strategy

This entry was posted by on Monday, 8 March, 2010 at

This is the second article on the Blue Ocean Strategy and involves convincing other members of an organization to go along with the changes you have planned. If you have a good business plan, the next step is to create an environment where you have a critical mass of people on your side, so you can start putting the plan into action. The goal of tipping point leadership is designing a strategy that takes you from the initial business plan to the tipping point where you can fundamentally alter the beliefs of coworkers and redirect the organization.

Authors Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne give an example of William Bratton and the strategies he used to reform the NYPD. If you ever wondered what made him the choice of the city of Los Angeles, it was the decisions he made while he was advising the city of New York as the police chief. The strategy was very successful and crime has decreased significantly over several decades, and public confidence in the police force greatly rose from 37% to 73%. Police Chief Bratton was featured on the cover of Time Magazine and there is an article which covers his accomplishments. The article also mentioned that Bratton was forced out by then mayor Rudolph Giuliani, which is why Tipping Point Leadership emphasizes the need to involve key people in the implementation of the strategy. Bratton recently left the LAPD, as his work here is done and he’s riding into the sunset to clean up the next city.

Four hurdles must be removed to carry out this strategy. Hurdles are described as motivational, resource, cognitive, and political. Bratton’s plan dealt with each one in turn. To improve motivation he established a weekly meeting with all of the commanders across the city, with one commander each week selected to give a presentation in front of the group on two days’ notice. This kept all of the commanders alert, while not singling out any for special treatment. The authors also noted that this ensures that commanders were shown to only be responsible for their precinct, and the meeting in front of their peers prevented them from blaming others. Cognitive obstacles were dealt with by making the commanders ride the subway instead of driving cars to the police station. They realized that even without lots of crime reports, the subway needed to be cleaned up. Resource issues were dealt with by assigning priorities to current problems. The budget should be revised often and some companies even use strategies like zero based budgeting to make sure every item is relevant. Finally, political problems must be addressed. Bratton managed to stop the crime wave in New York, and was then forced out by Mayor Giuliani. Make sure your boss or other key people in the organization get the credit for your plan, and remove the last hurdle.

Does this story show you a picture of a solution for your organization? I’ll use the example of an oil company, as there’s a large potential for environmental improvement there. Cognitive recognition of resource depletion took off with the famous Hubbard’s Peak. Show the managers an empty range, with the oil drained out. We’ll need another product very soon. For resources, remember Blue Ocean. There’s no need to spend money on new refineries if all the fields are running out of oil. That frees some funds up. For motivation? Tell the managers they can move from a declining market, oil, to a rising one, which can include renewables such as solar and wind. Deal with the political hurdles by transferring employees in departments to be cut to the new ones which are planned, and using some of the budget for retraining.

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