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Regaining customer relevance: the outside‐in turnaround

George Day (Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor and co‐director of the Mack Institute for Innovation Management at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)
Christine Moorman (T. Austin Finch, Sr. Professor of Business Administration and director of The CMO Survey at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 28 June 2013




The purpose of this paper is to report on the authors' in‐depth investigations of six successful turnarounds, which found that renewal was accomplished by a new management team that stepped outside the boundaries and constraints of the company and looked at its market through the eyes of customers and competitors.


The authors describe how to perform an outside‐in turnaround that refocuses the company on the needs and expectations of the customer. This customer focus energizes and focuses the entire organization toward a shared sense of purpose.


The forces moving a company to an inside‐out view are persistent and powerful. They must be countered with a tough resolve to ensure a company meets its customers' test for relevance.

Practical implications

The challenge of beginning a successful outside‐in turnaround is to find the right balance between realism and optimism.


The authors show how leading and sustaining an outside‐in turnaround means giving the organization a clear sense of purpose around the unifying theme of delivering superior customer value.



Day, G. and Moorman, C. (2013), "Regaining customer relevance: the outside‐in turnaround", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 41 No. 4, pp. 17-23.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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