Jun 11

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Why you can’t do everything in house

One prob­lem that I see with many com­pa­nies is that they try to do too much them­selves. For some rea­son, they seem affraid of out­sourc­ing jobs. Most of the times, these com­pa­nies stum­ble because they really don’t have the exper­tise to do the job prop­erly (see About image and out­sourc­ing exper­tise), how­ever there are other rea­sons why you should con­sid­ered outsourcing…respect.

In a larger com­pany, there exists a chain of com­mand. Peo­ple need to be held account­able, and report to their supe­ri­ors. Respect flows up, the higher you are on the totem pole, the more respect you demand from sub­or­di­nates. This busi­ness model has worked for a long time, and the “fear” ele­ment that comes with it is use­ful in hav­ing a well run orga­ni­za­tion. Of course, this model has its weak­nesses as well, espe­cially when it comes to cor­po­rate image.

I’ve men­tored many young graphic artists over the years. Many often come to me feel­ing very frus­trated, because they need to please “the boss”. Often, their supe­ri­ors have no design train­ing and rely on their opin­ion of what appeals to them. This leads to dis­as­ter from a design point of view. The prob­lem is, the busi­ness hier­ar­chy means the “expert” on the sub­ject is often lower on the totem pole, and thus has no respect.

Funny thing is, if you were to take that same employee out of the shop, and have them come in as a con­sul­tant, they would instantly have the respect required to do their job prop­erly (see Say “no” to clients).

The fear of dis­pleas­ing the boss and poten­tially los­ing your job can affect more than just your com­pany image as in the above exam­ple. The same prob­lems can arise in every divi­sion of the com­pany, espe­cially in areas that aren’t the busi­ness’ pri­mary area of expertise.

It takes an out­sider to earn the respect needed to achieve your goal, some­one not affraid to piss off the boss. Of course, the con­trac­tor may be the type who is affraid of los­ing clients, but good con­trac­tors are in demand because they do a good job. Be wary of those who try to please you all the time. Some­times you need some­one to stand up to the boss, they aren’t always right espe­cially if they aren’t in their area of exper­tise, for the good of the company.

Les­son: what is needed to run a com­pany can some­times cause a lot of prob­lems for that same company.

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