You’re standing outside looking in through the windows.
You can see everything in each room, but you have no walls to confine you.
You can stroll along the street and understand what is going on in every house.
You simply have to look through their windows to get enough of an understanding. Sometimes you might be invited in, you can dig a little deeper, but you will always be different.
The people in the houses might view you with a little suspicion. You are not one of them, you are not exclusively dedicated to their cause, yet as an outsider, you have so much to give. You understand what is going on.
As company cultures become ever more “defined” and the boundaries between work and home lives become ever more blurred, it is becoming ever harder for companies and their employees to look much past the end of their own noses.
They work hard together, play hard together and become a tight-knit family. All this is powerful in many ways, but such strong bonds often make it hard to see beyond the walls of their business.
It falls to the outsiders of this world to inject a much-needed reality check – true breakthrough insights are not always possible from within.
Too many employees still feel like they are slaves to their paymaster and there is not always room to realise their personal potential.
They are constrained by their position, their boss, their company and their market. They would love to spread their wings, but the salary at the end of the month is simply too important.
They might have the vision to see what is outside, but they simply aren’t brave (or empowered) enough to tell it like it is. They have too much skin in the game, so they play it safe.
The inexorable rise of the “portfolio career” is now breaking these shackles. Increasingly large amounts of people are setting out on their own journeys, using social media to project their professional brands, and working on multiple “gigs” at any one time.
They learn to navigate these gigs with increasing efficiency, and their job security may actually be enhanced as they are not reliant on one income stream.
They are outsiders, but their breadth of experience brings so much incremental value that companies are competing for their fresh ideas. They are at the helm of their unique ship, and will naturally gravitate towards the best insights as they are free of the corporate straightjacket.
Someone sitting in their job, receiving a regular salary is unlikely to risk things on a regular basis by rocking the boat. For an outsider, rocking the boat is what they do best.
If you want your business to develop beyond its walls, outsiders will always beat insiders.