Winning Strategies for Success From Renée Mauborgne's Best-selling Books

Netflix, Amazon, and Tesla. What do these three brands have in common?

They were disruptors, companies that revolutionized the market by introducing new products, services, or processes that challenged the established norms.

While some see disruptors as a threat to the status quo, these companies drive innovation, economic growth, and advancement. Nobody understands this better than prominent business strategist and author Renée Mauborgne, a recent guest on the Men's Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast. Mauborgne co-authored the pivotal books Blue Ocean Strategy and Beyond Disruption.

Published in 2005, Blue Ocean Strategy is a go-to resource for the brightest minds in business and helps companies transform their approach to innovation, competition, and value creation. But can these principles be applied to individual success? This article delves into how Everyday Warriors can use Mauborgne's revolutionary business approach to unlock their full potential.

An Incremental Approach

When we think of success, we often focus on extraordinary individuals who possess innate gifts that set them apart. We think of people like Steve Jobs, who seemed to have a prophetic ability to envision the future, or Tom Brady, whose natural talent propelled him to the apex of his sport. These outliers are awe-inspiring, but what about those who don't possess such raw aptitude? Is there a pathway to greatness for them?

Mauborgne introduces a process-oriented approach to achieving success. "Greatness exists within every human being; we just need to recognize it in ourselves," she says.

Embarking on this journey requires thinking differently and breaking free from the status quo—or what Mauborgne dubs the red ocean. This step may initially seem intimidating, like venturing blindly into the unknown. However, her philosophy does not demand a dramatic, seismic shift. Instead, it involves making progress one step at a time.

Mauborgne presents a series of reflective questions to guide organizations along this transformative journey. We've adapted her questions for the individual:

  • Am I like everyone else?

  • What sets me apart?

  • How do I capitalize on these differences?

  • What areas do I need to work on?

  • Will addressing these areas move me from the red to the blue ocean?

These questions are not merely rhetorical; they encourage introspection and instill a sense of ownership over the process. It's not about being told to take the next step—it's about choosing to do so.

This incremental approach also fosters confidence. It's not the fleeting, superficial type gained from a motivational speech or a weekend retreat. Instead, it's a profound self-assuredness that comes from learning and witnessing the impact of our efforts.

At its core, Mauborgne's strategy aims to uncover hidden potential and recognize the warrior within each of us. It challenges the notion that our natural abilities confine us and suggests that we forge our path to extraordinary achievement.

Reframing Success

In a world where conformity often obscures individuality, we must redefine success and reevaluate our priorities. In her latest book, Beyond Disruption, Mauborgne discusses how to confidently navigate uncertainty and move toward sustainable, long-term success in an increasingly disruptive world.

The implications of her strategies are profound, replacing the relentless pressure of competition and constant benchmarking with a renewed focus on personal growth and collective harmony. It's a significant departure from conventional norms, and the initial shift may appear daunting. However, the rewards are immense and far-reaching.

By nurturing an ethos that values individual talents and seeks to mitigate undue stressors, we can challenge ourselves, pursue progress, and become disruptors in our own right. Reframing success becomes essential. Instead of chasing traditional notions of success, it empowers us to identify and seize unique opportunities, allowing our individuality to shine in a world that often encourages conformity.

This philosophy requires stepping outside our comfort zone, taking calculated risks, and recognizing that greatness lies within. The next time you look at companies like Netflix, Amazon, or Tesla, remember that their rise to success began with a disruptive mindset. They challenged the norms, identified untapped opportunities, and embraced innovation. You, too, have the power to be a disruptor by reshaping your path and shaking up your future.

The Talking Series is a weekly segment that digs deeper into topics discussed by guests of the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast. A new episode of the Podcast is released each Tuesday.