Org Learning is Bringing the Inside Out, Not Outside In

I’ve been having lots of conversations recently about transforming organizations. How do we help them become more agile, human-centric and responsive?

Many of the conversations revolve around the idea of bringing the outside in - opening up your organization to new ideas and changing accordingly. However, this idea sits uncomfortably with me. While it’s not wrong and makes sense as a first step,  something kept nagging at me that it’s missing so much.

I think it’s this - bringing the outside in is passive. Sure, it’s about listening and  accepting new ideas, but there’s nothing active in it as a concept. You are paying consultants to analyze, being benchmarked, commissioning reports - it’s all being done to you. You get to hear new ideas, what other organizations are doing. Great first step, but then what? I think you're only 20% of the way there.

The next step is to take the inside out - take the discussion and ideas out into the world. Engage the outside: share what you and your organization does and be prepared to debate, listen, agree and disagree. Everyone in an organization can do this, but it starts with leaders. 

Always concerned with ROI on all of this? Take a look at your spend on the passive column and compare to the results of those organizations who already bring the inside out. 

Here are a few examples of what I mean - do you have more I can add: