HR Learns Blue Strategy

HR Learns Blue Strategy

Learning a New HR Strategy: The Blue Strategy that Creates Certainty, Embraces Change and Mitigates Risks

The human talent is the decisive critical asset at the centre of the organisation’s ability to materialise its destiny embodied in its vision.  Strategy formulation all too often ignores the experience of the organization in its adaptive learning journey in stumbling towards strategic alignment with its core purpose as informed by its passions.  The organisational experience as it adapts or miscalculates or overcome unanticipated concurrent happenings is crucial to a sustainable existential survival. Strategy is the essential tool for HR Professionals in assuring our continuous relevance in the organization.        

Strategy is understood by its ordinary meaning to refer to a plan of action involving the mobilization of resources in response to and to engage changes in competitors’ behaviors and happenings in the marketplace(s). Many companies and their consultants subscribe to this reactive view of strategy and focus most of their attention to watching their self-defined “competitors”. The common outcome from this strategic error is their loss of exceptional self-identity in the pursuit of the goals of other organizations instead of their own. 

Strategy is the process to assure existential survival. Sustainability is the ability to continually create and re-create adaptively. The primary goal of strategy is therefore the assurance of sustainability. Leadership is about change. If there were no change, there is no need for leadership. In the age of uncertainty from permanent turbulent change, the key Blue Leader role is to engage and foster change. The intent of Blue Strategy is therefore directed at addressing the challenges and prospects of change. 

Blue leadership is the emergent leadership that is better aligned and aptly conducive to this era of uncertainty and permanent turbulent change. The “Blue Leader” emerges from the mountain of literature on leadership, strategy, human capital management, social responsibility and business excellence.  In previous Articles, I have described the discovery of Blue Leadership that is widely and openly manifested around us. Blue Leadership should be incorporated and integrated with every leadership development programs in organisations seeking greater certainty for a lasting existential survival.

Blue Leaders understand strategy to be a creative rather than a re-active process.  And strategy formulation is a decision-making rather than a problem-solving undertaking. This unique upgraded mindset allows a mental seismic shift from conventional time-focused strategic action to one that is change-focused.  In formulating their strategy, Blue Leaders take their cue and direction from the core purpose of their organization and its ultimate destination goal(s). The emergent Blue Strategy is a unique design thinking and experiential learning process that customizes an action roadmap for the journey to the ends of their corporate vision. For Blue Leaders, the essence of Blue Strategy is to “remember the future in the past”.

Blue Leaders live and act in accordance with The Blue Tao or Blue “Way”, better understood as a conscious philosophy or personal ideology dominated by four passions, namely strategy, service, people and performance. They are unlike conventional leaders who are reactionary in their response to issues and often based their decision-making on gut-feelings, legacy experience and imitating their presumed “competitors”.

Blue Leaders are driven by 4 passions towards the desired impact outcomes obtained in goal attainment. The 4 passions are integrated by unique personal values, and transcribed into the appropriate behaviors and translated into natural instinctive self-directed social action. Blue strategies are therefore purposeful, driven by the conscious values of the Blue Leader’s passionate orientations towards his visionary goals. 

The variable combinations of his passions in decision-making provide the “sense” for his decisions and executive actions.  The Blue Leader is a continuous experiential learner.  The Blue Leader constantly reflects on his worldly experience to construct and re-construct new social realities that maintain alignment with his consummate passions. 

For the Blue Leader, what is most important about any event or phenomenon is not what has happened, but what it means. This defines his overall approach to Blue Strategy in the Terrain of Opportunity (TOP). The Blue Leader derives meaning from TOP happenings by using his passions and their orientations to provide a consistent sense-making worldview to empower conscious reality-learning through “knowing what I think when I see what I say”.  The Blue Tao (or “Way”) provides a sense of order and direction which informs the application of Blue Strategy.

The 9-Steps Flow of Blue Strategy Formulation is depicted as follows:

9-Steps Flow of Blue Strategy Formulation

Blue Strategy formulation is a continuous flow of active learning and experiential activities through the stages of deconstruction, reconstruction and construction.  The Blue Leader’s mindfulness defines his capacity and capability to capture holistically the authentic pattern(s) of changing social realities. Self-mastery in Blue Leaders imbues in them the consciousness of action through the sense-making process.  It empowers exceptional courage for profoundly insightful reflection to inform fearless engagement and innovative decision-making. The awaken sharpened self-awareness in Blue Leaders strengthens their grasp on the relevant patterns of social reality amidst turbulent change to visualize meaningful coherence of the emergent trends operating in their terrain(s) of opportunity as they weigh the long-term impact of possible robust solutions among available decision options in Blue Strategy formulation.

Blue Strategy Formulation Decisions

Deconstruction Stage [Steps 1, 2 & 3]

Deconstruction Stage

Blue Leaders know insightfully that nothing is absolutely “real”; everything has been socially constructed or created by people both consciously and unconsciously, and bestow or embed or associate them with particular symbolic meanings by applying a variety of behaviors which have come to be assumed as “natural”.  During the diagnostic phase in the “Deconstruction” stage, strategy formulation reviews in 3 steps the active business model canvas to review and revise its unique value proposition (USP), evaluate the attractiveness of the USP on stakeholders and buyers, as well as structure of costs driving its minimum price value levels to assure alignment with the 4 driving passions and The Tao essence. The buyer experience is examined together with the 6 TOP elements (Shape, Structure, Hazards, Psychometrics, Rules and Value) whose confluence embodies and defines the situational character of the Terrain.  The actual value profile is derived from the combination and bundle of value vectors psychometrically captured in the buyers’ mind to drive their buying decisions. 

Many strategies fail because they ignore the lessons and knowledge underlying the analytics of the marketplace by focusing merely on superficial financial and comparative data without asking the critical questions regarding their historicity and meaning.

Reconstruction Stage [Steps 4, 5 & 6]

Reconstruction Stage

The “Reconstruction” stage is the beginning of the planning phase.  The experiential learning in the same collective community during the deconstruction stage can be adapted to reconstruct a new business model canvas with a USP that is better aligned with the visionary purpose of the organization. Using a proprietary tool, the Marketplace Dissonance Matrix, the valence of legacy value vectors associated with existing products are assessed and compared for indifference and influence in the minds of buyers, for the strategic decision to eliminate, reduce or enhance for greater buyer attractiveness. 

New value vectors are also created according to feedback analytics and endowed with meaningful connectedness to create the appropriate equivalence of desirability in new buyers.  At the same time, the 6 TOP elements are reconfigured and recalibrated for a new social reality more suited to the Blue Strategy outcome to become truly “different from the rest” rather than the delusive “better than the best”. As the Blue organisation pursues its unique purpose informed by the 4 Blue passions, competition becomes irrelevant.  No one competes to beat you to the destiny of your own vision!     

Construction Stage [Steps 7, 8 & 9]

Construction Stage

The “Construction” stage is the prelude to strategic actions.  Blue Leaders see the environment, communities and their surroundings with a unique systems worldview, where everything is related and/or connected to everything else. The organizing principles of Blue Strategy are connectivity, complementarity and relativity. To Blue Leaders, change happens; mostly for no reasons or rational causality. And the only way to manage change is to embrace it, mitigate its risks and create certainty.

Blue Strategy produces an intentional action plan towards the creation of some desired realities best served by new value-laden products of exceptional value vectors. Yet, as soon as the plan is completed, it would immediately be overtaken by “unforeseen” change and become obsolete!  The strategic efforts now continue into the next never-ending Blue Strategy formulation cycle, making strategy formulation a persistent HR preoccupation.    

Unlike conventional strategy formulation, Blue Strategy does not finish with a thick Strategic Plan manual.  Blue Strategy formulation incorporates and follows through with Strategy Execution through the 9-Actions Pathway. Understanding Blue Strategy entails the understanding of its parts, as the parts are necessary to the understanding of the whole; especially the connectedness of the 9-Steps Blue Strategy Formulation to the 9-Actions Pathway, especially in the interaction of the 4 Action Trigons with the Tao and Passions of Blue Leadership.  In this manner, Blue Strategy is cooperatively, collaboratively and creatively formulated using applied adaptive experiential learning empowered by the HR function in the organisation. 

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