Outside-in Strategy: Positioned for success
Developing customer-aligned strategy
For leaders at all levels, and all who would support the strategy process.
Are you leaving value on the table for others to pick up first? Learn how to:
- Develop your own outside-in (customer-first) strategy
- Include others in the strategy development process
- Focus on outcomes as you pursue strategy together
Module #3 of an integrated programme centred on leadership, strategy, and outcomes
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Recognising the challenges
Whatever your scope – team, team-of-teams, something bigger – likely you experience one or both of the following:
- Your competitors better positioning themselves and their products in the eyes of your customers – and actively maintaining that advantage
- Your products, services, capabilities, and innovations not aligning effectively to their “strategic needs” that best define your purpose and direction
And then there’s the hidden competition:
- Customers managing to muddle through without your help
- Outsource (or oblivion), because your host organisation can’t differentiate you from the alternative
If any of that applies, you are leaving a lot of value on the table – value that others might get to first. Outside-in Strategy: Positioned for success is for you: it’s for all who may be called upon to lead, support, influence, facilitate, or coach customer-first change in the transforming organisation.
Learning by doing:
- Structuring an outside-in approach
- Developing a coherent strategy with clear objectives, starting points, and measures of success
- Keeping outcomes in the foreground as you pursue strategy
Outside-in strategy in the language of outcomes – a winning combination!
What sets us apart – the fundamentals
Three principles guide everything we do:
- Keep asking the agreement on outcomes question:
What if we put agreement on outcomes ahead of solutions?
- Keep bringing outcomes to the foreground
- Keep finding new places for strategy to happen
For the big strategy occasions, for those everyday interactions, and for everything in between, we help leaders at all levels put those principles into practice:
- Having the kinds of conversations that too often get missed
- Working backwards from key moments of impact and learning
- Engaging with their organisations in all of their complexity
What you'll be doing
This module follows the 5-part structure of the Outside-in Strategy Review (OI-SR). For your scope – you’ll be working on your own strategy – the review poses in outside-in order a sequence of challenge questions that launch strategy conversations for each of the following 5 ‘layers’:
"What’s happening when we’re reaching the right customers, meeting their strategic needs (their needs, our strategy)?"
- Your customers, their "struggling moments", and the meaningful progress you will help them make
- What it's like when you are meeting their strategic needs, and the key challenge in the way of that
You’ll finish this chapter with strategic context and a definitive "Ideal" for the Customer layer, the springboard for later conversations (chapter 5).
"When we’re meeting those strategic needs, what kind of organisation are we?"
Looking back to Customer and forward to Product:
- Competition, surrounding organisation, suppliers, other stakeholders
- Operating model, values, ethos, reputation, perception, structure
- The time dimension – what's changing, where we need to be, and who we want to be
"Through what products and services are we meeting those strategic needs?"
With Customer and Organisation very much in mind:
- Product positioning and the qualities that justify it
- The jobs-to-be-done by your products and services
- Economic decision-making
You'll be thinking not only about individual products and their features and qualities, but about the jobs they do as a whole.
"When we’re that kind of organisation, meeting those strategic needs, delivering those products and services, what are the defining/critical capabilities that make it all possible?"
Where the relationship between outside-in and inside-out strategies matters most – a virtuous circle when it is working well:
- Core IP and hard-to-replicate capabilities
- Integration with business processes
- Internal capabilities and their qualities
- Innovation and your ability to leverage it
"When we’re achieving all of the above, what kind(s) of team(s) are we?"
- External relationships, internal structure
- Team-level skills, capabilities, and performance
- Ways of working, behaviours, development
And then – already properly contexualised – Ideal, Obstacles, Outcomes conversations for the 5 layers combined, organised into strategy.
Is this for me?
If any of these apply:
- You're a leader in a transforming organisation
- You desire change and want it approached in the right way
- You aspire to leadership
- You have something to contribute to the strategy process
- You support others in that journey
Brought to you by Agendashift Academy co-founder and three-time author Mike Burrows
Mike's pioneering work in the pursuit of the wholehearted and deliberately adaptive organisation brings a needs-based and outcome-oriented perspective to leadership, strategy, and transformation.
Mike has real-world experience as a global leader in world-class organisations and clients in government, finance, industry, and the not-for-profit sectors.
- Leading with Outcomes: Foundation
- Inside-out Strategy: Fit for maximum impact
- Outside-in Strategy: Positioned for success (this module)
- Adaptive Organisation: Business agility at every scale (from early 2023)
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