Outsourcing is an idea that has revolutionised the way entrepreneurs plan, structure and run an enterprise, and it’s increasing popularity can be attributed to its capacity to help entrepreneurs scale and deploy a business idea faster and operate more efficiently.
Embracing the idea of outsourcing, entrepreneurs can focus on developing solutions and expertise in core competencies where they add real value to their market, either naturally through their access to unique or scarce resources, or intelligently though their ingenuity.
They can then outsource the more mundane and tedious tasks that, although critical to the day to day operations of their business, aren’t the primary reason for their existence.
Separating core competencies from critical but mundane tasks enables businesses to leverage the specialist knowledge, management expertise, staff and/or infrastructure of dedicated professionals; making it easier for them to deploy their unique products and services quickly and efficiently, and thereby scale or expand faster.
Offshore & Onshore Outsourcing
Outsourcing in the 21st century can be broadly categorised as offshore and onshore. Onshore outsourcing is the more traditional area where specific services are provided by local 3rd party contractors, however the evolution of the internet and telecommunications networks has made offshore outsourcing commonplace today.
An example of onshore outsourcing is outsourcing something mundane but essential like cleaning. A real-world example of this is a local business outsourcing their cleaning to a local company that can supply consistent, well trained and managed cleaners that take care of cleaning, maintenance and rubbish removal in all of their outlets, better than they could if they tried to manage those services themselves. An example of a successful business like this is Smart Cleaning Solutions, a Melbourne based commercial cleaning company that has doubled the size of their business every year for seven consecutive years, by aggressively targeting fast growing companies that need consistent cleaning across multiple outlets, and vertical niches where consistently high cleaning standards and hygiene are critical to business success.
Offshore outsourcing, sometimes referred to as offshoring, is outsourcing tasks that can be done by someone overseas in a country where the cost of living is lower than in the country in which the host company operates. This means tasks can be done cheaper, creating a competitive advantage to the company accessing the outsourced services by enabling them to reduce costs or increase their margins. This means they can then undercut companies paying more for the same service locally, or through increased margins, outspend them with their marketing.
Much offshore outsourcing work is commonly called business process outsourcing, and examples of this kind of work include outsourcing helpdesks, outbound sales teams and administrative tasks like bookkeeping.
Another big area of offshore outsourcing is IT, especially tasks like app development, websites development and writing code. Also associated services like blog writing, video production and graphic design are increasingly being done overseas.
Professional Services Outsourcing
Professional services outsourcing is the most traditional area of outsourcing and is rarely delivered in house. Examples of professional outsourcing is areas like legal services, engineering, environmental consulting, accounting and specialist business consulting services like business coaching….
Outsourcing is continuing to expand and grow. The advantages of fast scalable growth and increased business efficiency make outsourcing a must for businesses that need to stay competitive in an increasingly global economy.
There is an old saying in HR Management circles that goes like this: “Employees don’t quit jobs. They quit managers…”
While this is not always the case, and is obvious over simplification of a complex issue, it’s never the less a common, significant and unidentified factor contributing to undesirably high staff turnover rates in many companies. And it can be extremely costly if it is not identified and dealt with, because it results in significant organisational inefficiencies including:
- Disgruntled disengaged employees ‘surviving’ their jobs
- Low staff morale and accompanying problems with quality & productivity
- A continuous leakage of corporate knowledge/memory
- Lack of continuity in account management roles
- Increased recruitment and training costs
- Associated problems with quality, productivity and continuity
Most of these productivity draining consequences can be cut, reduced or even avoided, and the efficiency, creativity and innovation of a business enhanced, with a small investment in the development of effective leadership skills, techniques, and priorities in its executive and management team.
To find out more about how to deal with these kinds of problems we spoke with leadership and executive coach Kerry Little of Gwyder consulting. With a career as a senior Executive, a Masters in Organisational Dynamics and the IP of one of the world’s greatest leadership thinkers ( Marshall Goldsmith) behind him, Kerry is one of the leading providers of organisational change and leadership training in Australia.
Kerry believes one of the biggest problems facing businesses in today’s sophisticated economy is the transforming expectations of employees and the war for talent, ie recruiting and holding onto high performing staff.
“It’s funny; but many companies don’t train and develop their employees for fear they will leave, when the facts show that developing their employees is more often than not an encouragement for employees to stay” say’s Little.
In survey after survey on employee aspirations, the top desire cited by employees is training opportunities, (not salary increases) and by offering promising high-potential employees more extensive development opportunities, their engagement; and thus their inclination to stay with your company grows.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to organisational benefits, because engaged and skilled employees not only make your work-force better employees, they contributes to the innovation and evolution of your organisation, which is what really drives the growth of businesses in modern economies, and can only be achieved over time, by successfully training and development your best people and training them as your leaders and managers, in essence offering them a career and not just a job.
In fact, in “Leading the Way: Three Truths from the Top Companies for Leaders (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), authors Marc Effron and Robert Gandossy show that companies that excel at developing leaders tend to achieve higher long-term profitability, and one of the main reasons for this is because these businesses retain and inspire their best people to grow in their roles, fueling the innovation that helps growing businesses leapfrog their competitors in today’s fast moving, highly competitive economy.
By providing a pathway to management, and developing managers with leadership training to help them work more effectively with and through employees, team productivity improves, and when this is sustained, employees start to better understand their roles and can actually begin to drive innovations that further increase productivity and efficiency.
For readers interested in exploring how to create sustainable long term growth by making better management a key success factor in the growth of their business, there are several free to download self-coaching reports available here, that can help curious leaders and business owners execute simple strategies to engage and motivate staff. These free reports also show how to get fast productivity increases from your current teams, simply by harvesting the low hanging, potential contributions that your team could offer if you, if you knew how to elicit their contributions. The highly practical exercises in the reports provide insights into how developing effective organisational leadership skills can help companies break through the glass ceiling that is frustrating their efforts to get better and grow.
We published an article in MO* Magazine (in Dutch) on the Kashagan oil field, situated in the Northern part of the Caspian Sea belonging to Kazakhstan. On 11th September, the biggest oil field discovered during the past 40 years started its production of oil. Kashagan was discovered 13 years ago, but oil production was delayed due the complex technical challenges. Moreover, little gain is expected for local communities and there is a tremendous risk for an environmental disaster. If an ecological disaster happens, the relative political stability of the Caspian Sea region is at stake.
In Atyrau, Kazakhstan, we talked to:
- a taxi driver who helped with the construction of the Kashagan islands;
- an employee at the newly constructed Bolashak oil refinery;
- Galina Tschernova, leading lady of the local ngo Globus Centre that fights to protect the environment and the local people;
- Abdulla Amin, risk manager for an American company;
- Serikhzan Mambetalin, past chairman of the disqualified Green party.
The article is available on the website of MO*.
The breakthrough moment… is that moment when you come up against everything that IS possible… and you either choose it (even if it is REALLY uncomfortable) or you back away, hiding amongst the excuses that have kept you from going beyond it in the past.
How many times have you almost got there, only to stop yourself? Is it time to stop it… or do you love stopping you?
Are any of these scenarios familiar to you?
“I know I can do this, but before I do, I just need to…..(insert big thing that is your current ‘unsolvable obstacle’ here)…..”
“I would love to do this, but I’m just going to….. (insert small, unimportant list of busy work here)…..”
“I am procrastinating because I am not ready, I need to learn….. (insert your personal ‘less than’ comparison to as many guru’s in your industry as you can find here)…..”
“I know this is really important, but I have to do my client work first… (insert long list of client work and excuses for not working ON your business here)…..”
“I can’t. I am afraid of….. (insert your favourite set of fears and doubts that you use to distract yourself from moving forward here)…..”
I have coached hundreds of people in getting over the personal limitation that is stopping them from breaking through to creating what they truly desire – in business and beyond.
And here’s the thing… it’s never about needing more, learning more or doing more or waiting for something else to show up first.It’s always about BEING more!
Sound crazy? Here’s how it works. How many people do you know who are ‘wasting their potential’? You know it, everyone around them knows it, in most cases they know it too. And they are as frustrated as hell about it.
If this is you, there is a really simple solution. You make the demand of yourself that this changes NOW. That you aren’t going to listen to your brilliant but oh so limiting excuses anymore. You are going to take the action that will move you forward in leaps and bounds, rather than going round in circles.
And then you do it. Not from the space of doubt, lack or fear; but from the space of “I’m kick-ass and I’m going to rock this! What do I need to be or do different that will allow me to create this with ease?” Notice that being this energy puts a totally different spin on what’s possible?
That’s what I’m talking about when I say BE more. The truth is, you don’t need to be anything other than what you truly be. If you stop ‘wasting your potential’ you’ll make a much greater demand of yourself to deliver beyond your excuses.
You are ready. There is no better time. You know enough. You are more than enough. Go be everything you can be! Your life (and business) will have so much more ease when you embrace and acknowledge your true capacities rather than pretending they don’t exist. What could you play with today, that would change all possibilities with ease? It takes courage. And it’s SO worth it!
How do I know what to do with this particular entrepreneurs dilemma? I’ve been there – stopping myself by most of the options above and then some… and I’m not allowing myself to be pathetic or side-tracked anymore. Just so you know… You’re not alone here. AND also know there is a greater possibility available! Are you demanding it?
If you’d like some more tools for going beyond your breakthrough moment, you can contact Lisa Murray for a personal Breakthrough Session or listen in to her free New Energies of Business show on Blog Talk Radio.
This article presents an account from people who are now academic researchers who supported people with learning disabilities in the 1970s and 1980s. It explores how a practitioners and an academic engaged in researching and teaching social welfare issues from a social model and critical rights perspective, remember and have come to terms with oppressive practices from the past. The paper includes instances of resistance to unethical systems and behaviours, but also painful memories of compliance. The authors reflect on their ethical positions in their past practice and discuss the importance of remembering and acknowledging.
Have you noticed that business is changing rapidly and in unexpected ways? Over at BlissTribe we have started to explore the new energies that will form the platform for business in the future.
One of my roles as a business coach is to inspire you to have the awareness that there is a different possibility available from what you see right now. How do you see the people that you work with in your business? Are they a contribution or do you just wish they would be? Does it drive you nuts that they aren’t? Would you like to change all of this?
Contribution is essential to the New Energies Of Business TM. If I am employing anyone – for my team or as a supplier of services to my business, the first thing I look at is ‘will they be a contribution?’ Not, are they saying they will be a contribution (people always tell us what we want to hear!) but, ‘truth, will they be a contribution or will they always be draining the possibilities and under-delivering on the potentials?’
Our interaction with others offers the possibility for us to be the greatest contribution we can be… and for them to see what else is possible! When we choose to contribute to our fullest capacity then we are the drop in the ocean that creates ripples everywhere!
So, would you rather be creating tsunamis of contribution or are you happy to keep the status quo in your business? If you’d like to create and generate a whole lot more then YOU could start being the contribution more often!
What’s interesting about contribution is that if you are genuinely contributing, it is not about what you get back… you are just enjoying the process of contributing! Earlier this year I contributed a whole lot of writing to a project I loved the idea of. I didn’t expect anything back – I was happy to just receive the joy I in actually doing the writing.
It was fascinating and instructive to watch how this organization has contributed back to me ten-fold in many different ways since then. Especially as I didn’t have a point of view that they needed to do anything! Recently they also engaged me to contribute to a number of other writing projects that truly are fun and joyful for me! So, how does it get any better than that? Contributions lead us to possibilities we could never create through force!
Of course, contributing to your fullest capacity occurs with ease when you are using your talents, gifts and abilities. There is no stress, frustration or anger when you love what you are contributing – your contribution offers you joy. Joy is not currently an energy or word connected to business very often. This is changing. So, what contribution can you be to more joy showing up in your business?
And would you be willing to take another look at your team and see how you could create more ease of contribution for everyone simply by letting go of your expectations and opening the door for them to contribute their talents and abilities in ways you hadn’t considered?
There is so much we can consider, create and change around the energy of contribution! If you would like to explore this topic and more please join us for New Energies of BusinessTM at Peregian Beach on Monday 29 August. We’ll be talking contribution, creating value, loving your work and so much more!!
The recent global financial crisis has seen an increase in advice to employees to ‘make yourself indispensable’. A useful strategy for the employee maybe, but not always ideal for a smart small businesses!
Those same high performers have the capacity to hold your business hostage to their demands! So how do you have high performing team members without making them indispensable?
- Create a culture of high performance so that the ‘average’ level of performance is higher than expected in most businesses.
- Create an environment and a culture that offers your people incentive to stay and to perform at their best, without them feeling like they need to instigate the ‘power crazy’ aspects of being indispensable.
- Work with your team’s strengths – the person being ‘everything to everybody’ needs direction and support in working towards specific targets that benefit the business. Just because someone can, doesn’t mean they should!!
- Have awareness of people who are implementing the ‘indispensable strategy’ – they may not always be the ones you want to keep should the going get tough… (look for strong performance in their core job role, or move them to a more suitable role if you start to see previously undiscovered talents!!)
- Don’t be tempted to rely on the people making themselves indispensable – you are compounding the problem and teaching them to become a bottleneck. Encourage good delegation practices (starting with you!!) and ensure that those not performing at the higher levels know they need to step up – allow the bar to be raised!!
What do you think? Have you ever been held hostage by an employee who thought they were indispensable? What did you do to alleviate the risk to your business? How did you harness their enthusiasm and commitment to the business without creating other problems? Share your ideas here!