In my last blog post, I advocated considering outsourcing overseas inspite of any serious concerns you may have regarding its viability. If you have serious reservations about outsourcing overseas, but are at least open to putting your beliefs to test, then, in my opinion, your approach should be slightly different to the approach most take. This is because you already have strongly held opinions on outsourcing and so your approach should be a little different to ensure you authentically assess the merits of outsourcing.
There are numerous bits of advice, tips, pitfalls to avoid and processes I can share with you. However, here I shall share three of the simplest dos and don’ts.Stop Overthinking, Analyzing & Calculating
When we have reservations about something, what do we do? We start to overthink – and, like with anything in life or business, overthinking, more times than not, does not really get us anywhere except have us spinning around in circles. This is exactly what many clients do when it comes to outsourcing – they keep overly focusing on their concerns rather than undertaking a hands-on a diligent evaluation. And no, merely thinking about outsourcing does not constitute a diligent evaluation. In fact, all this serves to do is create in the minds of clients a doomsday scenario, and one which often has no semblance of reality. Judging what outsourcing is or is not on the basis of what you think is merely a waste of time because it is founded on assumptions rather than credible first-hand experience or adequate R and D.
I have even found myself, on a handful of occasions, speaking to entrepreneurs about data security for a set of data that is not even sensitive for them. It is only when I ask the question, “even if someone had unethical intentions, could someone based in India even benefit from the data you will be providing them?” that some clients realize their fears are exaggerated. Hence, the key is to stop overly analyzing what you think might happen when you outsource and, rather, focus on having your fears addressed by a vendor. Stop thinking and start doing.Break down the process into small steps
The second step that you should take overlaps with the first. Clients who have serious reservations about outsourcing are also the ones that see the peak of the mountain much higher than it actually is – greater levels of scepticism lead to a greater sense of feeling overwhelmed and when you feel overwhelmed you don’t make progress.
To stop yourself from becoming overwhelmed what you need to do is break down the process into small steps. Too many clients focus on too many different factors all at once when outsourcing. You don’t need to do this. Don’t over complicate the process. Take one step at a time and only move from one step to the next if you are satisfied that your concern has been adequately addressed. This makes the process far more streamlined; you no longer need to be in sprint mode.
The reason I strongly advocate a checklist approach to outsourcing is because your assessment will now also be a lot fairer. If you have a fear about a business practice, but are evaluating one parameter at a time rather than multiple parameters all together, it is much easier to remain objective in your decision making.Tell Yourself You Are Not Going to Outsource
Lastly, take the position that you are “not going to outsource,” and keep reminding yourself of this position. Tell yourself that because of the reasons mentioned in the previous blog post (i.e. the numbers are so significant that they cannot be ignored), that as a prudent Director, you are merely undertaking an R and D exercise, to explore the potential merits and opportunities of outsourcing.
Some clients appear to be so concerned about outsourcing that I think they forget that they are not being forced to outsource. Remember, you can consider and examine outsourcing and then not actually outsource. Some clients, however, act as though by even considering outsourcing they will somehow be locked into outsourcing forever! By reminding yourself that you are simply in the ‘exploring mode’ and are considering outsourcing and that no one can actually force you to outsource, is there now a reason to be unduly concerned? By “lowering your guard” you can more objectively consider the merits of outsourcing. More importantly, you will then also be less likely to jump at the first sign of a hiccup (which can and does happen in all business activities). If you are not going to outsource, but are merely evaluating outsourcing – what is there to worry about?
In the next blog post, I wrap up this three-part blog post series by examining ‘why action is the best approach if you think outsourcing overseas won’t work’.