How to Spot Vendors Who Are “Drivers”

Outsourcing is one of the best ways to increase your productivity as an entrepreneur. But the type of vendor you choose can make or break the gain you realize. The wrong vendors may save time in performing certain tasks, but require you to invest additional time in supervising and motivating them.

Outsource to "Driver" VendorsFor best results, I look for vendors who are “drivers.” The fastest way to describe a driver is to borrow a definition I once saw on Wikipedia for entrepreneur: “Someone who boosts productivity from a lower to a higher level.”

Here are four ways to spot a driver when evaluating vendors:

  • Drivers initiate. They self-start without extra supervision. In fact, they don’t have any supervision. They just drive. If they can’t contact you in phone or by person, they don’t get discouraged. They just keep driving.
  • Drivers don’t get discouraged if other team members – in other words, their own colleagues – fail to meet their deadlines. It doesn’t matter to them. They just keep driving.
  • Drivers report, question, and update you on their current progress, and they have a unique ability to make progress at every level. They are true entrepreneurs. Drivers keep driving.
  • Drivers will even drive team leaders. They will report to and question you daily. They don’t get discouraged if you don’t contact them. They don’t get discouraged if other team members don’t drive, and they will even drive you.

A driver’s aim is to increase the productivity at any level of a project. Drivers drive other people on the team or parts of the project that require attention. That’s a driver, and if you want to maximize your productivity, you need to outsource to drivers.

My good friend Eben Pagan taught me that there’s a fifth element that makes for a very, very special and rare type of driver – what I call a “Star.”

A Star is a driver who has the ability to attract other drivers and the capability to be driven by those other drivers. They can lead from behind, and they can be driven.

Most drivers can’t be driven because they don’t have that level of humility. Stars lead from behind, and they are arguably the most productive force in any great company. I believe they’re the most productive force in the universe.

Note: Not all drivers are Stars, but all Stars are drivers.

As we’ve been talking about the past few weeks, successful outsourcing is not about What. It’s not about How. It’s not about Why. It’s not about When. It’s not about anything but Who.

Outsourcing to drivers practically guarantees that you’ll increase your productivity. Not only will these vendors be assuming responsibilities for tasks that you don’t want to do or don’t do well, but they’ll also require less of your time, supervision and motivation.

Make it your team’s responsibility to ask “Who is driving this project?” versus “How we are driving it?” or “What are we driving?” As your team adopts this mindset, you will get more done faster, better, and with less effort.

What other criteria do you use to spot drivers when outsourcing? Share your ideas below! -Alex

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