Why independent thinking adds to internal strategy

by Matthew Knight

Strategy is one of the most important parts of any business' activities. 

So to hand it over to someone who isn't part of your business could seem like a strange decision. Surely, strategy needs to come from within, and be wholly owned by you?

Whilst it might be counter-intuitive, there are many reasons why bringing an outside perspective on strategic challenges can help your business do better.

1/ Impartial

An external strategist has no pre-existing allegiances or biases within your business. They're not looking for a promotion, and they're not looking to sell you a solution. They can look impartially at the issues, opportunities and challenges without any personal agenda. This impartiality allows them to be more objective in their strategic advice.

2/ Focused

A strategy consultant is dedicated to your project, rather than balancing other business priorities. They can offer the focused attention needed to think deeply about your business and strategy, in a way that internal staff who wear multiple hats or balance mixed priorities may struggle to. Giving dedicated effort to the 'important not urgent' box.

3/ Horizontal

Bringing someone in from outside allows them to float horizontally across a business rather than working within a specific vertical or department. This creates a wider perspective of how a business operates, and can surface more factors which are critical to consider. In many complex organisations, this horizontal view is rare, until you reach the CEO - a role which is often too far from the all important detail.

4/ Honest

An outside can sometimes find it easier to speak hard truths. Internal staff may hesitate to bring bad news, or to challenge the status quo. An external strategist has no such qualms, and can be totally honest in their strategic recommendations.

5/ Fewer Assumptions

Internal staff make unconscious assumptions all the time about how things are done, what works, company culture and so on, established habits and traditions can be assumed to be essential, and lead to many blindspots. An external strategist comes with no such assumptions, enabling them to question everything and challenge established thinking.

6/ External Insights

An external strategist brings cross-industry knowledge and experience. They have seen strategic challenges across many businesses in multiple sectors, giving them a horizontal view of what works and what doesn't. This breadth of knowledge can bring new perspectives. They can bring these external insights about the future business landscape into your strategic dialogue.

No strategic project should ever wholly-handed over to someone external - you need to take responsibility for owning and developing a solid strategy. But adding an outside perspective to bring fresh, impartial, focused, honest and insightful thinking to help drive your strategic projects forward will both accelerate the process, and lead to better outcomes. 

Fresh Thoughts from Matthew Knight - a member of Outside Perspective.

Connect and collaborate with Matthew at https://foxlark.co

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