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  • Writer's pictureNorm Baker

My Department, Inc.

As a manager of one of your company’s departments, whether a “line” department such as customer service or a “staff” department such as accounting,  you may fear that your department will be “outsourced.”  It happens all the time.  When it does, in most cases it is because senior management has determined that your department’s function can be performed better and cheaper by another company.

Certainly, labor costs, particularly overseas, play a big factor, but that is often not the biggest reason that your department fell short.  In most cases, it was because your department, and you, got too complacent.  Your attitude, and therefore the attitude of your team was, “we’ll try to do our best but since we are part of the company they have to use our services.” Well, you were wrong and now its too late.

Leaders of internal departmental functions that have, instead, embraced the philosophy that they must constantly prove that they truly deliver the best value to their company, generally thrive.  These department leaders think like entrepreneurs.  They benchmark their competition, external companies that provide similar services for a fee.  They constantly measure their own performance against these benchmarks, maniacally striving to lead the pack.  They seek out and implement best practices.

In short, they think of their own departmental function as an independent company that must retain their customer through excellent performance and clear value add.  They are the CEO of their Department, Inc.

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