What is the Leadership Fair?

The leadership fair is the third step of the four-step blue ocean leadership process. Fair attendees include board members as well as senior, middle and frontline managers. The subteams of senior managers who have driven the process to that point and conducted interviews present the as-is and proposed to-be leadership canvases for each of the three management levels. The attendees then cast their votes for the leadership profiles they prefer. After the votes are in, the company’s senior executives probe the attendees about the rationale behind their voting decisions. Finally, the top management convenes outside the fair room and decides which to-be leadership profile to move forward on at each level. They then return and explain their decisions to the fair’s participants.

As for the process of profile building, the as-is and alternative profiles are developed in the first and second steps of the blue ocean leadership process respectively. At the first step senior managers driving the process draw existing leadership profiles based on the interviews and analyses of employees’ comments at each management level. At this stage the basic dimensions of the profiles are determined once key factors reflecting the realities of leadership practice are identified and agreed upon. Usually, the dimensions and key factors of the three different levels do differ from each other, pertaining to the specific market realities and leadership dynamics at the different levels of leadership. The second step is to create alternative leadership profiles based on the findings of the second-round interviews and with the help of the analytical tool the “Blue Ocean Leadership Grid.” Eventually two to four to-be profiles are created for each leadership level, which are to be explained and voted on at the leadership fair. To enable comparison, scales across these to-be profiles at the same management level have to be consistent. Yet even at the same level the alternative profiles may differ in their recommendations as to which factors leaders should eliminate, reduce, raise and create.