Choose DIY

In my ol’ small business days I remember one thing quite clearly (not only one, mind you, but this certainly comes to mind — in comparison with my corporate life nowadays):

Choose DIY

Small businesses often have this… self-reliance imprinted in their operations. E.g. if there is any creative work to be done, e.g. a promotional leaflet, a brochure, a small company’s first steps rarely end up in a creative agency. If a small piece of software needs to be developed, all eyes turn inwards first — looking for someone who has at least part of the required know-how. There are countless examples of analogical cases. 

The opposite can be seen in corporations. I often see departments bearing “productive labels”, not capable of developing anything on their own. For example, I remember huge IT departments (with scripting / software development skills [sic]) requiring help from 3rd parties to prepare a miserable HTML manual…

Is it really that others can do better? Is it because we sincerely believe that non-core processes need to be ruthlessly outsourced or services bought? Sometimes I have a feeling that ownership and communication issues, bureaucracy make it easier for us to rely on big bucks and thus — the outside world.

But then, I believe in self-reliance.

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  • Pawel Brodzinski January 12, 2009, 6:59 pm

    Remember about the old “no one got fired for choosing IBM” rule. It’s safe to employ an agency to make a manual or design another crappy web page. They can’t do it worng or at least you can’t expect they’d do it worng.Anything you do yourself brings a risk because you’re fully responsible for an effect. From my experience the biggest problems of many big organizations is fear. People are scared to fail so they play it safe even when “safe” means not creative, expensive or even dumb.

  • Lech January 13, 2009, 2:51 pm

    Hello Pawel!The IBM rule is a bullseye. It sums up the attitude.I wholeheartedly agree with the fear thing too! I had a discussion onthat with some of my friends at work yesterday. Sure seems closer to theroot cause. Ever thought about a cure? You believe it’s possible?I doubt centrally propagated statements as “relationship-based”,”friendly environment” or “transparency” mean anything practical here.In a big organization, that is. The sole fact, that we have a frail (asin human nature), complex environment simply counteracts any attempts,IMO.