“We Have Enough Competent In-House Staff To Solve Our Internal Issues” (Myth 10)
Companies, especially big companies, can be like their own countries. They have their own rules, their own culture, their own history and traditions, their own way of doing things.
In many cases, this works for them, but not always. I’ve encountered multinational companies whose employees have only ever worked for this one company for many years.
In this situation, people can be very insular. This is not necessarily negative—it just means they are not very outward-looking. If a company has its own standards and systems and is self-sufficient, sustaining itself and continuously growing, then it can easily lose sight of why it would need to change how it does things.
Even under these circumstances, there are times when I’ve seen ways in which an organisation is missing out on great opportunities, by being too blinkered and limited in their knowledge.
People, especially your middle managers and frontline staff, may not be as open and honest as they should be with themselves.
In my experience, many people at that level are far more open to sharing the real issues with someone outside the business, instead of falling into line and simply telling their own management team what they want to hear, whether good or bad; this can easily happen as a result of people wanting to protect both themselves and other people.
There can be a lot of internal politics within an organisation that some people don’t want to get caught up in.
You don’t know what you don’t know
Most importantly, the main reason that in-house staff cannot always solve your problems is simply because you don’t know what you don’t know. How do you know that you have all the expertise that you actually need at this point in time? This is where a broader view is important.
If the only people working on a problem are on the inside, the only comparison they have is with the inside. They have no touch points and no comparison.
You still need the majority of your problems to be identified by in-house staff who do the job. They should also be the people who take the most responsibility for finding the solutions.
Questions to ask yourself: How easy is it for you to extract these problems and solutions? How open will people be with their managers? How easy is it to get these solutions implemented?
In-house competence will always be important. It is about strengthening the core of the business, the processes, and the company culture. When it comes to solving problems, accelerating results, and challenging the status quo, all with a view to creating continuous improvement throughout all your operations, it is crucial to ask if you have everything you need to keep up with new situations and changing times.
Having an outside person can be a solution to unresolved in-house issues for a number of reasons. More than anything, what you need when driving change is an accountability partner—someone your people can trust and go to with results and progress, and who has the authority and capability to challenge the status quo.
As well as providing an outside perspective and fresh eyes, an accountability partner can bring in best practices from other companies and industries, and provide expert coaching and mentoring, using expertise and competencies that you may otherwise miss out on.
Clients often tell me that the message can have more impact when it is delivered from outside the company. It can carry more weight and provide an unbiased perspective, and there are none of the attachments or pressures related to having someone from within the company “telling people what to do.”