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Cultivating Culture, Incubating Success

This article from Entrepreneur magazine keeps popping up in my Google feed, so I finally read it even though I did not agree with the headline.  The author makes three key points about building your team that I agree with 100%. 

You create a collaborative environment. Collaboration breeds creativity, and creativity is the only real equity value companies have in the modern economy.You increase the depth of your roster. Talent is incredibly important and increasingly rare. What occasionally goes unmentioned is that talent takes time to cultivate.  

You construct an impactful culture. At our company, anyone who interacts with a client knows what our company is about. 

The mistake he made was assuming these are only true if you insource your team. Too often people don’t make the investment in their outsourced team. 

What makes no sense to me, as the author framed it in the Entrepreneur article, is making this an insource vs. outsource conversation. I have been building technology teams since the ‘90s, worked for global firms and startups.  I found that engaging with your teams no matter whether they were made up of employees or consultants, full-timers or part-timers, you can grow a great team anywhere to drive your service or build your product. 

No matter where your team is located, in-sourced or out-sourced, you invest your time, embrace each team member as part of your company, and instill your culture. That’s how you grow! 

Back in 2000, I was brought on to build a client services organization for the then startup Javelin Technologies.  The customer base was growing in Hong Kong and Tokyo beyond the Tier 1 banks for our mission critical FIX engine and the last thing I wanted was to outsource to a call center.  While this was the standard offering available at the time, I decided to hire a team of engineers as consultants directly and after researching the region Manila was the place to do it. 

We hired experienced, overqualified engineers and brought them on board to directly interface with my clients, not as ticket takers but as problem solvers. After all, they were representing our growth in the region.  Of course, we had to train them, teach them the “Javelin” way, introduce them to the entire company, make them part of our culture of success.  That is what you do when everyone is critical to your success. 

Initially, we didn’t have enough work in support as we were expanding the business, but we were able to take advantage of their “experience” to fill in some of the gaps by generating scripts, QA testing software releases, building tools, monitoring and managing overnight processes.  The team quickly gained the respect of their peers in the US and UK and more importantly, our clients in the region. 

Today, there is the term “incubation”, where companies will test the waters of opening an offshore service by “outsourcing” services to an external provider.  If things go right and the company grows, they do a lift and shift and establish a local regional office.  Same concept as hiring a local resource as a consultant before making the decision to hire as an employee. Try and Buy if you will.  In addition, with the rise of PEOs in the U.S. that same service can be provided in the local country where you choose to outsource. 

Now it’s easier with video conferencing and collaboration tools to share a company’s culture of success.  Every entrepreneur should visit all their locations as nothing beats working side by side with your team no matter where they are located. 

Based on the model I learned at Javelin, today, I help startups and small companies work through growth locally with their existing teams and offer the opportunity to expand by incubating (a term that for me is more accurate instead of outsourcing) them in Manila. We custom hire teams that not only have the technical and communications skills but often have previous industry experience and already are familiar with our clients’ business.  

The Entrepreneur article was 100% correct:  Company Culture is the soul of a business”. 

A key piece of advice I would give any entrepreneur building his business: never just send out projects to be completed by another firm but instead, take ownership of your team’s direction and make them, in-house or remote, part of your culture of success. 

Interested in incubating a custom-hired remote team in Manila to build your product or support your business?

Learn more about our staff leasing service or contact us for any inquiries. 

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