In today's Globe and Mail newspaper, there was an interview with Tony Griffiths, because of his experience fixing troubled companies. You can read the article here.
The most interesting piece of the article was when he was asked why is takes an outsider to fix a trouble company. His response was: "The very strong personalities that build companies often don’t build a team. Then there is room for an outsider to come in and get a fresh look. People also tend to operate as if they are in silos. When I went into a company, one of the first things I did was to look at the competition. As an outsider I never felt constrained about talking to my competition, whereas people in the business think they are going to give away secrets or something."
Mr Griffiths makes an interesting case for having another set of eyes look at the organization. This of course is good news for people like me. Outsiders who help companies improve profitability and performance. I have always been a strong proponent of using outsiders to find the best and worst an organization has to offer. All of the greatest companies, the ones we read about the most, use outside advisors and partners all of the time because they don't only want to breathe their own exhaust.
Here are some reasons why it is important to look to outside advisors:
- They have a fresh perspective and can usually see things quickly that people inside the organization take for granted
- They can share success stories and experiences from other companies and apply them
- They can bring complimentary skills and insights in areas where the organization may not be strong
- They can challenge the status quo without fear of reprimand or consequence
- They can get right to the issue without being hindered by organizational politics or bias
- They can identify internal best practices to be shared across the entire organization
There is a balance organziations must strike in terms of their reliance on outsiders, but it would be a mistake to only use your own ideas. There is a reason why the most successful organizations all use outside advisors. Because they get better results. That should be enough of a reason to start talking with people outside of your organization.