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Business Change Management

Business Change Management

Some Thoughts on Strategy: When Insiders Might Know Best

On Sep 26, 2016 7:06:39 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Corporate Anthropology, business strategy

Last week I picked up the MIT Sloan Management Review Fall 2016 issue while waiting for dinner. I turned to the last page and read an article by Teppo Felin entitled: “When Strategy Walks Out the Door.” What was really important was the need to include employees in both strategy and execution.

Teppo Felin is a professor of strategy at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, UK. His article cites examples of employees who were disenfranchised at their place of employment and then went on to build successful companies out of rejected ideas.

Outsiders vs. Insiders

The thesis of Felin’s article is that senior management at companies often hire outsiders to develop strategies rather than turning to the insiders—the people who might really understand the company and the markets in order to develop effective strategy.

At Simon Associates Management Associates (SAMC), we fully support Mr. Felin’s position. As a matter of fact, we are often hired to help companies find new markets or develop new strategies. However, we are very careful NOT to take the lead but rather, to act as the facilitator in developing strategies. I think this is a very important differentiation, illustrating how we view our work with clients. We always tell management, “Do not outsource your eyes!”

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