10 Ailments Series – Introduction

Is your business relationship ailing – or worse on its deathbed? Several of us on the Vested faculty were practitioners before joining the academic community, and we know that sinking feeling of having worked so hard to find the perfect partner only to see frustration kick-in is as that “partner” seems to forget all about leveraging […]

Beware Strategic Drift—it’s Ailment No. 12

Even the seemingly most well-crafted contracts and business relationships can suffer from a common but dangerous ailment that I call Strategic Drift. Strategic drift occurs when buyers and suppliers don’t work to maintain their relationship, or put in the work needed to keep abreast and update their strategic priorities as business happens. I’ve witnessed Strategic […]

Ailment 11 – New Sheriff in Town Syndrome

You know the scenario. The new sheriff rides into town, wants to clean up and make a name for himself…most often leaving dead bodies in his wake.  In the movies the new sheriff is usually the good guy, as in Gary Cooper’s Oscar-winning turn in High Noon, and the bad guys become the dead bodies […]

Ailment #1 – Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

As we noted in the introductory blog to this series, our research and experience exposed the 10 most common problems in business relationships. These are “ailments” that can plague and potentially destroy an outsourcing relationship. Let’s start with the first and the easiest ailment to identify. The one that materializes when, for example, a company […]

Ailment #2 – The Outsourcing Paradox

A company afflicted by the “Outsourcing Paradox” malady may exhibit a telltale initial symptom: an attempt to develop the “perfect” set of tasks, frequencies and measures. The “experts” within the company try to prepare what they consider the “perfect” Statement of Work. The goal is to tightly define the expected results. After all – we […]

Ailment #3 – The Activity Trap

Many companies that suffer from the “Outsourcing Paradox” often suffer from the Activity Trap. Traditionally, companies that purchase outsourced services use a transaction-based model. Under a transaction-based model, the service provider is paid for every transaction—regardless of whether or not it is needed. Businesses are in the business to make money – and outsource providers […]

Ailment #4 – The Junkyard Dog Factor

When the decision to outsource is made, it means jobs likely will be lost in the transition of work and jobs to the outsource provider. In response, employees typically will go to great lengths to hunker down and stake their territorial claim to certain processes that simply “must” stay in house. We call this disease […]

Ailment #5 – The Honeymoon Effect

At the beginning of any relationship, both parties go through the honeymoon stage. The Honeymoon Effect was studied by the Stamford, Conn., research firm Gartner, Inc. In her article “Gartner: Outsourcing deals based on price alone are likely doomed” (published at CIO.com on March 15, 2006) Kate Evans-Correia reported that the Gartner research investigators found […]

Ailment #6 – Sandbagging

To prevent the Honeymoon Effect, some companies have adopted approaches to encourage outsource providers to perform better over time. Those methods include establishment of bonus payments for attainment of specified levels of performance. Bonus payments can work. Unfortunately, and all too often, however, they create perverse incentives for the outsource provider to achieve only the […]

Ailment #7 – The Zero-Sum Game

One of the most common ailments afflicting outsourcing arrangements is the Zero-Sum Game; outsourcing companies play this game when they believe, mistakenly, that if something is good for a contractor, then it’s automatically bad for the outsourcing company (and contractors play the game, too). Company executives who play this game fail to understand that the […]