Monday, April 2, 2012


Outsourcing management


There is an interesting discussion on one of the LinkedIn groups about "Outsourcing."

The question was asked: "How can I prepare for missing key personnel in a small company?"

My take on the question is at - Outsource.

But then some one asked "Outsource management?"

It seems to me if ANY positions are to be outsourced, management should be at the top of the list.

Am I crazy? Never mind; that's a rhetorical question.

Consider that most Very Senior Management is far removed from day-to-day, in the-trenches, operations. Unless the organization is very small, does anyone really expect the company president to now how to weld a joint or operate a lathe? Maybe at one time, before CAD/CAM was introduced, but today? Not likely.

Would the Senior VP know how to keep the books to satisfy a CPA's audit? Why? That's why the company has bookkeepers.

Hopefully Functional Unit managers can function in a hands-on role, but does anyone really expect Top Management to work on the production line?

    To be fair, I have to note that "All generalities are lies." There ARE some Very Senior Managers - usually owners of the company - who CAN and often do enjoy keeping their hands in the business. They are few and far between, but they exist.
Think of all the Very Senior Executives who move from industry to industry. Robert Townsend was a good example. He was, according to his Wikipedia bio (
  • An officer in the United States Navy
  • Senior vice president for investment and international banking at American Express
  • CEO of Avis
  • A senior partner of Congressional Monitor
  • Chairman of the executive committee of Leadership Directories, Inc.
He also managed to write one of my favorite management books: "Up the Organization."

Granted while there ARE "specialty" MBAs, the majority of MBAs are of the generic variety. They teach management - otherwise known as How to get the most out of the throw-away human resource. They do not teach how to do production or sales work, profit center work.

Admittedly, most small organizations are managed by people who have a concept of what the organization is all about, but I would suggest that organizations run by MBAs might be well-served by "outsourcing" the positions. Who knows what a fresh take on the business might bring. Yes, there are two sides to that coin.

There is a problem with outsourcing management: How much does permanent management want the temporary managers to know about the organization and its product, it finances, its personnel?

Outsource IT. Probably, as long as the temporaries are supervised by a permanent IT person.

Outsource payroll? It probably already is outsourced, perhaps along with accounting.

Outsource production and sales - that might prove difficult.

Outsource management - now that's worth considering.

If I wrote it, you may quote it.

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