30 Fascinating W. Chan Kim Quotes

W. Chan Kim is a Korean born business theorist and Co-Director of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute. He is best known for co-authoring the book Blue Ocean Strategy and ranked second in the Thinkers50 of the most influential management thinkers alive. Here is a look at some of the most notable W. Chan Kim quotes ever to be recorded.

“A closer look reveals that most plans don’t contain a strategy at all but rather a smorgasbord of tactics that individually make sense but collectively don’t add up to a unified, clear direction that sets a company apart.”

“Although these alternatives may work, neither leads to tipping superiors’ cognitive hurdle as fast and stunningly as showing the worst.”

“An Incoherent Strategy When a company’s value curve looks like a bowl of spaghetti—a zigzag with no rhyme or reason, where the offering can be described as “low-high-low-low-high-low-high”—it signals that the company doesn’t have a coherent strategy.”

“As companies compete to embrace customer preferences through finer segmentation, they often risk creating too-small target markets.”

“Blue ocean strategy challenges companies to break out of the red ocean of bloody competition by creating uncontested market space that makes the competition irrelevant.”

“By focusing on the key factors that lead buyers to trade across alternative industries and eliminating or reducing everything else, you can create a blue ocean of new market space.”

“By single-mindedly focusing on points of disproportionate influence, tipping point leaders can topple the four hurdles that limit execution of blue ocean strategy. They can do this fast and at low cost.”

“Disengaged employees are an unfortunate reality in the workplace, and poor leadership is often to blame.”

“Executives are paralyzed by the muddle. Few employees deep down in the company even know what the strategy is.”

“Given the high potential for free riding, an offering’s reputation must be earned on day one, because brand building increasingly relies heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations spreading rapidly through our networked society.”

“Great artists don’t paint from other people’s descriptions or even from photographs; they like to see the subject for themselves. The same is true for great strategists.”

“Hot spots are activities that have low resource input but high potential performance gains. In contrast, cold spots are activities that have high resource input but low performance impact.”

“In this sense, it is important to distinguish between value innovation as opposed to technology innovation and market pioneering.”

“Instead of focusing on getting more resources, tipping point leaders concentrate on multiplying the value of the resources they have.”

“It immediately flags companies that are focused only on raising and creating and thereby lifting their cost structure and often overengineering products and services—a common plight in many companies.”

“Research in neuroscience and cognitive science shows that people remember and respond most effectively to what they see and experience.”

“Salespeople on commission, for example, are seldom sensitive to the costs of the sales they produce.”

“Senior managers’ goal here should be to manage their portfolio of businesses to wisely balance between profitable growth and cash flow at a given point in time.”

“The cost and risk of developing an innovative idea are borne by the initiator, not the follower.”

“The cost side of a company’s business model ensures that it creates a leap in value for itself in the form of profit—that is, the price of the offering minus the cost of production.”

“The key here is not to pursue pricing against the competition within an industry but rather to pursue pricing against substitutes and alternatives across industries and nonindustries.”

“The key questions answered by tipping point leaders are as follows: What factors or acts exercise a disproportionately positive influence on breaking the status quo?”

“The natural strategic orientation of many companies is toward retaining existing customers and seeking further segmentation opportunities.”

“These may individually make sense and keep the business running and everyone busy, but collectively they do little to distinguish the company from the best competitor or to provide a clear strategic vision.”

“To tip the cognitive hurdle fast, tipping point leaders such as Bratton zoom in on the act of disproportionate influence: making people see and experience harsh reality firsthand.”

“Value innovation is the cornerstone of blue ocean strategy. We call it value innovation because instead of focusing on beating the competition, you focus on making the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for buyers and your company, thereby opening up new and uncontested market space. Value innovation places equal emphasis on value.”

“Value innovation places equal emphasis on value and innovation. Value without innovation tends to focus on value creation on an incremental scale, something that improves value but is not sufficient to make you stand out in the marketplace.”

“Value innovation requires companies to orient the whole system toward achieving a leap in value for both buyers and themselves.”

“We call it value innovation because instead of focusing on beating the competition, you focus on making the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for buyers and your company, thereby opening up new and uncontested market space.”

“Yet few leaders exploit the power of this rapid wake-up call. Rather, they do the opposite. They try to garner support based on a numbers case that lacks urgency and emotional impetus.”

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