When is outsourcing not outsourcing? When it is true partnering

By October 6, 2014General

I was inspired by a new relationship last week. A client of ours has recently transferred an activity that has historically been delivered ‘in house’ to an external organisation, based in India. For some this will immediately raise a range of assumptions: ‘It is all about cost cutting’ (it is about reducing cost but it is also to access new thinking to modernise delivery). And ‘Service levels will be lowered’ (they are not changing). Or people assume ‘We are losing control – we must monitor their every move and catch them out when they let us down’.

Our client has consciously chosen the opposite path – the new supplier has been welcomed as a part of their extended team, as I witnessed I was invited to join the launch of the new relationship. The story I heard was how they have done their utmost to help their new team members succeed, share insights about their history and culture and recognise that they have something to learn from their new global partner. Of course there are checks and reviews in place too but the ethos of ‘One team’ is transparent.

The contracting phase and transition to the new way of working have been delivered in record time with user satisfaction measures sitting at 100%. There was laughter when one of the Indian leaders announced ‘We never did such a good job before’. But he was not joking, he was giving his new partners feedback. What he meant was ‘By treating us as part of your team, rather than an untrustworthy alien, you have allowed us to do exceptional work.’

It can often be quite a challenge to believe we help people succeed by giving them the freedom to excel rather than waiting to pick them up on every fault. The unique attitude that has fuelled this remarkable launch was summed up by one of the new ‘team’ who said:  ‘When we falter you have twice the faith that we will make it work’. What impact would we have if we could all live up to that belief?