What if Introverts Didn’t Have to Compete with Extroverts?

Just recently I was reading the Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) blog post, From Blue Ocean Strategy to Blue Ocean Leadership, when it occurred to me:

What if introverts have to compete with extroverts?

Of course maybe it’s just a feeling that we have to compete. Either way, if it’s a feeling or if it’s true, I think the BOS can help us hone our advantage.

Are you familiar with Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS)?

My discovery of it came out of a failed partnership in a tee shirt company a few years back. Learning about the BOS concept was one of my business takeaways although in working with five other partners we did not adhere to the concepts, which possibly contributed to our demise.red_ocean_surfaceTM

W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne present the concept in a 2005 book of the same title. It’s a metaphor that contrasts the wide openness of a blue ocean (unknown and untapped markets) with an overpopulated red ocean (traditional and crowded competitive markets.)

What’s relevant about it for the more introverted of us? Maybe we could use it in part, for our organizational leaders or colleagues we work to look at our abilities and energy to contribute to greater performance?

Let’s have a little fun and apply part of the BOS strategy to a workshop like exercise.

We’ll start with we (introverts and extroverts alike) are all considering be partners in a new blogging platform.

We are meeting for the first time as a potential partnership. We have marketing, management, writing experience and more to serve us working in this virtual business.

Because of our success as entrepreneurs in our own business, we have a variety of strong relationships with potential vendors like graphic artists, shopping cart vendors, who we will likely need. We also each have our own customers, prospects and followers.

What we want to develop is a unique collaboration blogging platform. The idea is to help bloggers connect better with, find their audience and more easily convert this audience into customers.

Each of us surveyed our individual audiences, and we’ve found there are a wide variety of needs to satisfy.

Think of yourself being on this team to launch out on an already crowded and competitive market (red ocean), of blog tools and platforms to help bloggers find, connect and market to their audiences.

This exploratory conversation is going to go around the room and you will want to put your best self forward as the group begins to untapped market yet to be served, with a product that could launch the

The BOS strategy would actually have us focus on – the company strategy with various tools. We would certainly have more definitive information.

But we’re playing, remember?

We’ll apply just one tool and use it for us to make our case for why or how the introvert can break out of the competition, the likely more extroverted who can be loud in their promotion of themselves for an opportunity like this.

In BOS terms, we more introverted are going to make the competition, the more extroverted, “irrelevant.” We want to make our more introverted way, the approach to take for the long-term success of this new venture.

  • What do you really like about being introverted that you know can contribute to the success of this new venture?
  • What do you really not like about being introverted in a new start-up?
  • What are you willing to do that you don’t do now to contribute to the success of the new venture?
  • Have you differentiated yourself in a strategic way from the more extroverted?

We all want work that we enjoy and find meaning in. While BOS is all about recreating your industry, we might take some lessons from the strategy to carve out a more introverted approach to areas of business we might not even have thought about yet.

We don’t have to compete with the more extroverted but instead, create the share of work that we can do better than anyone.

How might you apply this to your own personal development? Or your business?

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  1. Hi Pat. Every personality type has their strengths and weaknesses. It’s all about realizing your strengths and using them. It makes projects go better, companies run smoother and people happier when they can use those skills and do what they are good at, instead of trying to cram a square peg in a round hole.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Easy Beef Stew: #RecipeMy Profile

  2. For the new blogging platform we would need to find a niche that some kind of bloggers would prefer for whatever reason. Or add some feature that doesn’t yet exist. Both introverts and extroverts are successful bloggers.

    When it comes to coming up with innovative and smart ideas introverts and extroverts are on par. And that applies to earning money from a lucrative niche as well.
    Catarina recently posted…Do your customers recommend you?My Profile

  3. Jeannette Paladino

    Pat — I think you summed it up in your last sentence, “We don’t have to compete with the more extroverted but instead, create the share of work that we can do better than anyone.” But isn’t that what all have to do? Maybe introverts think extroverts have an edge but it’s not true and I’m an extrovert.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…How Preparation and Practice Can Make Your Webinar SO Much Better!My Profile

  4. Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)

    This is a new concept for me, and very interesting. I agree with Catarina in that I don’t think there is a known gap in creativity between introverts and extroverts. What I dislike the most about being an introvert in a start-up is contributing a large degree of the big ideas, but never getting credit for them. Not that I want individual credit…I’m not so comfortable in a narrow spotlight. But I’m happy to share a broad one. But there always seems to be the one guy who hogs it all and consequently reaps the benefits individually
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…Divided… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Jacqueline, not all of us are as skilled at the startup and then not all of us are skilled in the implementation. One of the keys to unlocking our blue ocean, is realizing: we can each contribute effectively throughout a process of any kind. We don’t all need to jump in the red ocean. Thanks for playing!
      Patricia Weber recently posted…Smart Introvert Number One RuleMy Profile

  5. If we were all the same and took the same approach it would be a very boring world. We need the different personalities to relate. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. I am an extrovert but I also think I appeal to an introvert. I say the same about you, an introvert. With hare and the tortoise, it is not always how fast you get there but how consistent you are.
    Arleen recently posted…How to WOW Your Audience: Karise Eden’s Power Voice AuditonMy Profile

  6. We all have to rely on our strong points, and try and let our weaknesses work for us, by avoiding them or letting them guide into whatever action is appropriate. There’s room for all of us to play!
    A.K.Andew recently posted…Banned Book Week: Should We Ever Ban Books?My Profile

  7. Blue Ocean Strategy is a great book. I like your format with this post Patricia.

    Another book I would recommend is a recent release by David Zweig called “Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion.”

    I’m definitely an Invisible and I would guess most introverts are.
    George recently posted…3 Big Ideas Video – Young Money by Kevin RooseMy Profile

  8. Cheryl Therrien

    I don’t think there is much I can add to this conversation that hasn’t already been said. Introvert or extrovert you have to find what makes you unique and special to your market and build on that, however you choose to approach it.
    Cheryl Therrien recently posted…Purchasing a #Car: Want Rather than NeedMy Profile

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