8. October 2022

Outside-in vs Inside-in Leadership

I like the provocative ‘outside-in principle’ for transformational leadership, described in Herminia Ibarra’s book ‘Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader.’ The premise behind it is that thinking and introspection should come only after taking action and experimenting in a transformational situation.

It’s key to plunge into new outside projects, interact with different people and activities, use new leadership approaches, and then reflect. Reflection and introspection without new actions aren’t effective for change.

How to be more of an outside-in than inside-out leader?

  • Hunt for external trends/insights, connect new dots, set a new direction, bring stakeholders together. Value creation often happens outside defined organisational functions
  • Spend less time ‘on the dance floor’ and more time ‘up on the balcony.’ People outside your immediate control or in your direct environment are key to have ‘outsights’ away from ‘insights’ from the usual suspects.
  • Explore different leadership and communication styles as a leader beyond your default or expected way. Expand by trying, not by introspection.


Changing your mindset is caused by acting differently. Do you have an outside-in or inside-out posture? What are best practices you do or have seen to be more of an ‘outsighter’?

The Power of Co-Elevation

In a transformation, it is key to create high-performing teams that cut across reporting line structures. In this context, I very much like Keith Ferrazzi’s

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