Managing From The Outside-In. Leading From The Inside-Out

The harder the wind blows the more important it is that a successful business operate from a solid foundation. Mastery in technology is obviously a given … as is the continued drive to get ahead of the innovation curve. How solid is the business platform you are operating from? Will your business stand firm or will the winds of change sweep you away? Think about the following leadership questions.

Managing from the outside-in

  • Does your team fully understand the ways in which continued disruption, the speed of change, ongoing globalisation and meta-changes in technology will change the way your customers do business? Think globally; don’t fall into the trap of focusing on what's happening locally. Are you fully equipped to work with customers who are faced with the need to reinvent their business?
  • Can you clearly describe where your business is heading? What specifically does success look like five years from now? If you can't imagine it, you won't create it.
  • Your suppliers, business partners and customers know what you do and how you do it but do they know why you do it? In a great business the why is invariably more important than the what.
  • Is the business environment changing faster than your capability as a business? If that is the case … your future is dictated by what you have done in the past. What are you doing now that you were not doing two years ago? Doing what you have always done is the perfect way to enter a world of mediocrity.
  • On your team, do you have the technical expertise, agility, leadership reach and delivery ethic to meet emerging customer expectations? When digital direction defines success, are you playing catch up or are you ahead of the game? Do you have the talent to compete with the best of the competition? What's the worst thing the competition can do? Do it first!

Leading from the inside-out

  • The world is changing, the competition is changing, the customer is changing – in what ways are those on your team changing? How resilient are those on your team? How and in what ways do they invest in personal growth? Seminars, reading habits, access to an outstanding coach? Leaders are readers.
  • Do you measure (in easy to understand business terms) the culture you have … and the culture you need to be successful tomorrow? From our own research – less than 20% of organisations manage their culture. The speed at which markets are changing means that strategy is, at best, a work in progress. The inevitable outcome? Culture has primacy. Long after your strategy has been shredded what will still have currency is your culture. Meanwhile, you can't manage what you can't measure.
  • Do those in leadership roles, in your part of the business, truly inspire?
  • Are your core business competencies the basis of a world-class business? Do your core competencies introduce a conversation where the customer wants to partner with you more than you want to work with them?
  • Are your organisation's values clear? Do those on your team live those values? Evidence?
  • Do you have a world-class team … or a collection of talented individuals who meet regularly to solve problems? What will it take for that team to move to the next level?
  • Is the difference between cooperation fully appreciated? What more needs to be done to build a more collaborative culture?
  • At in-house meetings, do people bring candour to the table? What are you doing to build "psychological safety?"
  • Is leadership succession in place? How and in what ways are you "testing" that successor? "Test" implies stretch, challenge and generally uncovering what he/she is truly capable of. Are you equipped to succeed into the role you currently hold, three years from now?
  • Is coaching alive and well inside the business? If you can't coach, you can't lead! If you want to retain the services of the millennials in your business make coaching a way of life.
  • Do you have an attraction and/or retention problem? Why do your best people stay? Do you think you know, or do you really know? What are you deliberately doing more of, working to stop doing and about to start doing … to retain those you need the most? If you can't quickly and easily describe your retention agenda, you ain't doing much!

Insights from "If It Can Be Digitalised, It Will Be Digitalised" (PDF), Orxestra Inc., © 2018


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