Change is the only constant phenomenon in the world, or so we have been told since school. We were never told, however, how to deal, or cope with change. Shiv Malik’s Outside-In Management: The New Age Funda of Wealth Creation is a good attempt to not just come to terms with change, but also to master it. The book, meant especially for entrepreneurs and leaders, as it talks about wealth creation, can be seen as a tool to achieve success. If one looks at the various business entities today, their approach towards wealth creation is essentially driven by two major yet simple strategies: the inside-out and outside-in approach. George S Day and Christine Moorman, in their book Strategy from the Outside In: Profiting from Customer Value, called these the ‘paths to strategisation’.
As per the outside-in approach, customer value creation, customer orientation and customer experiences are pivotal for success. This is exactly what Malik says in his book. His mantra is ‘look outside and flourish, look inside and perish’. A proponent of the outside-in approach, Malik delves into the deeper problems faced by an organisation, such as increase in competition, catering to shareholders, dealing with the media in times of crises, etc. The action points he lists at the end of the chapters help the reader introspect and deal with the situation at hand.
Take, for instance, this fictional scenario given in the book: Ashok is appointed the CEO of India Resources, but is soon clouded with a host of difficulties. These involve a potential unrest building up among the union and staff, who are worried by the falling stock prices and rumours of staff retrenchment. Plus, there is pressure from the media. He also has to grapple with his deteriorating health.
Ashok is initially baffled by the issues. But then he calms himself down and decides to tackle the issues one by one. First, he makes adjustments to his lifestyle, which, in turn, benefit his work. The results begin to show soon, as his employees start to show faith in his abilities. The quality of communication within an organisation, the template of strategic questions to be asked to better understand the team, the ability of a leader to listen more than his/her ability to speak and, most importantly, the quality to assess himself/herself are, hence, plausible solutions to counter change.
Malik’s own stints at companies such as PEC and MMTC are reflected in the various case studies given in the book. He chalks out the strategies needed to bring about change within an entity. Parameters such as when and how to exit old business, steps needed to be taken to start afresh, and analysing and improving through innovation are explained in the book in detail and these can script a turnaround for any firm in times of a crisis. Outside-In Management teaches how minute adjustments bundled with the right attitude can lead to a transformation.