2 Tips to Create a More Externally Focused Culture

Business man overlooking city to illustrate an Externally Focused Culture

Externally Focused Culture vs. Internally Focused Culture
An important cultural dimension for many companies to define is the balance between having an internally or externally focused culture to best execute their strategy.  We define corporate strategy as your game plan for winning.  We define workplace culture as how and why things truly get done in an organization.

Depending upon your corporate strategy, sometimes it makes more sense to primarily focus on internal systems and processes (e.g. Wal-Mart), and sometimes it makes more sense to primarily focus externally on customers and market trends (e.g. Whole Foods).

This article is for leaders hoping to have their companies culturally focus more on customers and market trends to better execute their go-to-market strategies.

An Internally Focused Corporate Culture
Let’s start by defining an internally focused corporate culture as an organization that primarily focuses on internal systems, processes, and conformance to internal standards.  A culture that is internally focused looks inward for answers and solutions.  This often makes sense if your strategy is to cut costs, reduce waste, or quickly scale repeatable solutions.

An Externally Focused Corporate Culture
An externally focused culture is an organization that primarily focuses on customers and market trends.  A corporate culture that is externally focused:

  • Looks outward for feedback, trends, answers, and solutions
  • Happily adjusts any internal process to meet current and future customer demands
  • Prioritizes customer experiences
  • Relies heavily on external sources of information

This often makes sense if your strategy is gain market share, grow revenue, improve customer intimacy, or to increase your position as a market leader.

Two Tips to Create a More Externally Focused Culture
If you want to become a more externally focused culture, here are two good, research-backed places to start:

1. Consistently Analyze the External Environment
Define the factors that need to be monitored so the organization can strategically respond in a timely manner.  This includes developing ways to detect changes in the external environment, having strong sales and marketing feedback loops, and creating deeper and more regular opportunities to learn about the needs, thoughts and strategies of customers, competitors, partners, and suppliers.

2. Hiring, Rewarding, Supporting, and Promoting Externally Focused People
Look for individuals who are flexible and externally-oriented. Reward those who have a keen insight into what others need and a history of responding quickly to meet those needs. And finally, empower customer-facing people and those that support them with flexible solutions, pricing, options, and tools to effectively respond to changing, and often very different, customer needs.

The Bottom Line
If your strategy is to gain market share, grow revenue, improve customer intimacy, or to increase your positioning as a market leader, the chances are high that you need to culturally focus more externally than your current norms.  That means improving your ability to consistently analyze the external environment and how you hire, reward, support, and promote your entire workforce.   Is your culture externally focused enough to help move your growth strategy forward?

To learn more about how to align your culture with your strategy, download Aligned Cultures Count for 40% of the Performance Difference

Comments are closed.

Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.

Suzanne Kinner
VP Human Resources

Blackhawk Network

We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

VNUS Medical has been very pleased with the effective management development programs that LSA Global has delivered for us over the last four years. The programs have been universally facilitated by experienced and best in class instructors. The knowledge gained by our management team has been put into practice very quickly. VNUS is very happy to be working in partnership with LSA because they consistently deliver excellent programs that receive exceptional feedback from our management team.

Cindee Van Vleck
Director Human Resources

LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.

Jim Elliott
Senior Marketing Manager


LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”

Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources


We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

Kristin Westland-Kaune
Director, Team Development

For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!

Elizabeth Siebert
Director, Organizational Excellence & Development


LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich


We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

Janice Passarello
Director of Human Resources

I’ve partnered with LSA Global at two companies now, and I consider them a valuable and trusted training and consulting resource. They recommended just the right solution to address our management development needs and have wonderful facilitators that match YuMe’s culture and style of our management team. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions with a valuable learning and development partner.

Maya Paul
HR Director

The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

John Mastrorilli
FRDP Leader


Evaluate your Performance



Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.


Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.




Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.




First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.



Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.


Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.