I previously wrote a post, When Outsourcing Doesn’t Make Sense. I wanted to take some time to look at the different times that outsourcing does make sense.
In the context of building a team, there is internal outsourcing, where each team member fulfills certain roles. And, there is external team building, what most people think of as outsourcing. This is where you bring someone in to do a task.
A Team That is More Than the Sum of Its Parts
When a team works well together, each individual pulls more than they can alone. And, there is some magic to the momentum of a group of individuals cohesively working together. We not only do more as individuals but the team itself becomes almost a unit.
At this point, teamwork demands that we start specializing in our roles. As a matter of fact, this specialization of teamwork has transformed economies over the last 300 years since Adam Smith observed the division of labor in 1776.
At Paul Davis Solutions, I have team members who do much of my writing for clients. Why? Because I have a role that cannot be replaced (strategy and implementation) so I have to outsource a role I am perfectly capable of doing to a team member (writing).
Bringing In Outside help
There is a time to bring in help that is not part of a team you are building, but you need to do it with care.
Since about last June, we have had someone clean our living area weekly or every other week. This has tremendous advantages for our ease of mind and saving us time in our weekly chores. Now is when many efficiency experts say that you should go and do likewise or they would tell me that I need to have someone do more cleaning to save even more time.
I still vacuum, sweep floors, do dishes, do laundry, go shopping, ride bikes with my kids, read with them, give my wife massages, make meals, and try to get a full night’s sleep and regular exercise.
Is there too much for me to get it all done? Yes. That is why outside help and team members are both essential to my success, to Paul Davis Solutions’ success, and to our clients’ successes. But, if I stopped doing all of those tasks all of the time, it would cause more harm than good.
As people, as families, as humans, we need variety. We crave for life that comes not from earning lots of money or going on vacations after working 80 hours a week. We crave for the meaningful connections that come from taking your children shopping in the grocery store. We crave for rest from work by doing other things: exercise, menial chores.
So, understand the benefits of outsourcing: it frees up your less productive time to focus on more productive activities. But, also understand the costs of outsourcing: it robs you of the creative time where your strengths are fully fleshed out.
When to Outsource
Whether you are pulling in a team member who is going to take certain tasks off of your plate or hiring an outside expert to do things faster than you can, outsourcing your work is a good way to be more efficient.
Just remember to take the time to be a human and to invest in growth that comes from mastering many activities.