Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It Just Takes One


At college football practice one day, a teammate of mine was late, so we all ran around the perimeter of the field for close to an hour. This particular practice happened to occur the day after a long night on the town, a rarity for my in season playing days. Let’s just say those White Castle burgers that tasted so good the night before, didn’t taste so great after 30 or so laps around the old practice field.

Fast forward a decade to the spring of 2009. It seemed time to loosen the reins on my control freak grip of my fledgling business, and allow others to help. As busy as we were, outsourcing some of our core jobs just made sense. Unfortunately my experience hasn’t always been stellar, and to be frank, things tended to get worse the more I allowed others to partake in critical tasks that kept my business afloat each day.

A few years ago I tasked an employee with sending payments to the 65 contractors that were to be paid that week, boy was that a huge mistake. After thousands of dollars in clerical errors, and being told I was a “bad human being” through a popular rant website, the ordeal left me with a new perspective on outsourcing, and one less employee. I could literally tell similar stories all day long, the common thread though is much larger than financial losses, or the reputation of one person. It is about the team.

The lesson from that day on the field, besides not to eat White Castle hours before running, was that it just takes one person to negatively impact an entire organization. It just takes one.

With over 700 contractors working for my company today, I’m far from an opponent of outsourcing jobs, rather I caution those that do outsource to uphold a zero tolerance standard on subpar behavior, and if it comes to it, make ‘em run around the preverbal field all day to punctuate the point.

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