If progressive process change is getting bogged down in an organization, one of the remedies to consider is bringing in outsiders. Most likely, these people from outside the company are either contractors or some other sort of consultants in a particular area. Another approach could be bringing in a new manager or other expert into the company as a full time employee. It’s amazing to see how people within the organization will accept the advice of a new voice, even if the message is exactly the same as a previous champion of the change from within the company. (I could write a novel about the reasoning for this, but I’m sure every dear reader has their own story to relate.)
Companies that create an environment of continually promoting change have less of a need for these outsiders; however, it’s sometimes difficult to determine that healthy new ideas are not being promoted when observing from the inside. The key to getting outsiders into the organization is to justify the ROI because of the expense that’s often required; however, in some cases, consultants will perform some free sampler training or consulting in order to get more business if the ideas are accepted.
4 thoughts on “Outsiders”
I totally agree. I think you could go even further and suggest that if you want to make any change in an existing organization, then step one is to hire an outsider to propose it. For example, instead of selling the idea internally, sell the idea that everyone attend an external training class or go see an external speaker. This way people start attributing the idea an outsider who is devoid of all internal politics.
I also agree that that is usually the easiest way to get new things in place. However, this can have the effect of creating a lot of bitter, resentful feelings in the internal people who had been suggesting the changes all along. Some of your most valuable people may begin to wonder whether or not their contributions are appreciated or even recognized.
Robert, this is a completely valid point, and I wish I could have avoided the thoughts that triggered this blog post, especially since I’ve played the role of internal champion a few times myself. I wrote the post mostly directed to those internal people struggling to make the changes as a way to help the organization and get some credit for the idea along the way. In other words, a good alternative way to achieve a “win-win” as the champion of some new idea is investigating and suggesting consultants come into the oganization with your ideas and then driving the change with that momentum. Using this way, the champion actually gets to be a champion. 😉
[…] As follow-up to a previous post, I wanted to share a recent experience related to having someone from outside the group come in and suggest new ideas. In this case, the outsider was myself, and I was representing the Agilist in a group that was just getting off the ground with Agile software practices. The first few things I noticed were: (1) how willing everyone was listen to my suggestions (as an unbiased outsider), (2) how much I actually did know (relative to the new group) and (3) who the internal champion was and how much he was struggling to transition the group. […]