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Encourage Your Staff to Find Do-It-Yourself Improvements over Outsourcing

Feb 26, 2008
Rarely does an outsourcing mistake occur without someone in the organization realizing the mistake before the decision is made. But even more rarely does the organization ask its people to come up with better alternatives to outsourcing before signing on the multiple-year dotted line.

What's going on? Those closest to the problem usually identify key issues deserving consideration that are easily missed by those who only consider the big picture. Those who understand the details should call the shots, shouldn't they?

But those who are closest to the problem are generally low-ranking staff members, people who are usually encouraged to do what they are told rather than to create solutions. After all, thinks senior management, if those low-ranking people were so smart, wouldn't they be high-ranking executives? Not necessarily.

Many engineers (a group of capable problem solvers in many organizations) aren't listened to by senior managers because those leaders can't easily understand the engineers. It's easier and more ego satisfying to just make decisions and let the chips fall where they may. That attitude makes leading easier for big-picture thinkers, but it can cost your organization a fortune.

That kind of communication block is an example of the sort of problems you may encounter when you ask for new solutions. You need to encourage teams containing those with all the relevant skills and detailed knowledge to define and evaluate outsourcing choices and alternatives.

Another problem arises when management and staff come from different cultural backgrounds and have difficulties in explaining their thinking to one another. Further, if there's any history of friction between management and the staff, management may just avoid talking to the staff. That's always an expensive source of mistakes.

When the teams are done, they will need to communicate simply to more senior management. In addition to gaining better choices to expensive outsourcing contracts, this approach may also help you find future leaders you don't know you have in the organization.

If you later decide to outsource by following a recommendation such a team has made, morale will be a lot higher because the decision will have more credibility. Your organization will know that you are seriously interested in doing the right thing. As a result, you may hear from these same people on future occasions when outsourcing is a bad idea and you didn't realize it.

Start encouraging your staff to find great do-it-yourself improvements over outsourcing.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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