Growth Strategy From the Outside In
The real world
strategic thinking is
both imaginative and highly disciplined.
Outside-in thinking can transform businesses that are
"commoditized", "mature" or otherwise supposedly without growth prospects.
3 Strategies of Market Leaders
In the outside-in company, as opposed to
inside-out one, the key word is need, not
product. Their people think expansively. They
observe people, "they're totally immersed in the minds of their
customers, looking for ways to expand demand. Their
and value propositions derive
from the marketplace, based on the knowledge gathered at ground level.
Often, the needs they define haven't yet been identified by the customers
growth strategy of an outside-in company "starts with understanding the
difference between what you make and what people need – which often turns
out not to be the same thing. Tapping your resources of energy and
imagination, you look at your company from the perspective of your once and
future customers, and asking endless questions about what's going on in the
real world."1 Having stepped outside of your business, then work
backward to ask questions about your business to find out how you can pursue
the market opportunities identified...
Case in Point
Ram Charan and Noel Trichy1 in their
book Every Business Is a Growth Business write: "Many companies have
seemingly done well thinking from the inside out. 3M achieved legendary
success as an innovator by giving its people room
their ideas in quasi-entrepreneurial fashion. For years, it ranked among
the leaders of FORTUNE's list of most admired companies. But during the
first half of the 90s, 3M grew its
less than 4% despite the brilliance of its entrepreneurial technologists.
There wasn't enough feedback from
the marketplace – missing were the
insight into the customer's mind, and the
observations about needs that could have translated inventiveness into
powerful growth." In late 90s, new leadership got the company back on track
with outside-in growth initiatives.