Nine signs it’s time to embrace an outside perspective

Article Chris Erickson 5m read

As you level up and become an organization of specialists, the transition from start-up mode can be tricky. Until now, your team has been wearing multiple hats, getting as much done as possible (in a passable fashion). But the truth is, the hustle mentality that’s powered your company can outlive its usefulness. 

With so many generalists and different-hat-wearers, it can be hard to discern whether they can execute your needs as they become more demanding. Is it time to hire an outside partner with more experience and strategies to assist in this critical period? How can you tell? What can you do in-house vs. engaging someone on the outside?

We have a list of telltale signs that it’s time to call on a partner from outside your organization. You might be experiencing some or all of these, but even one would be enough to consider getting some outside help seriously. Let’s see if these sound familiar.

Leading indicators your in-house team needs help

  1. You’re experiencing significant change

    1. Inflection points—moments of stark change—disrupt the status quo and are opportunities when properly addressed. If your company is at an inflection point, consider hiring an agency with experience handling such moments, including:

      • New leadership, ownership, or investors

      • Directional shifts

      • Preparing for scale

    2. These changes make it hard to find your way forward because you probably haven’t experienced it previously. By hiring an outside agency with experience navigating these waters, you immediately gain from their experience.

  2. You’re stuck and can’t seem to make progress on your own

    1. You’ve been cranking and cranking, but it feels like you are spinning your wheels. You’ve read the books and tried the things, but still, you’re not gaining any traction.

    2. What are you missing? What is wrong? You’ve been trying to get something launched, upgraded, updated, etc, for the past year or two but can’t close the loop. It’s make it happen; an outside perspective can help you finish what’s been started. It could be granular (like a mission statement) or major (like completely new brand).

    3. An outside perspective helps you diagnose the problem and can put you on track toward a solution.

  3. You don’t have internal alignment

    1. Your teams aren’t using the same playbook. There’s a lack of consistency in what you produce creatively (and perhaps across the entire business), and your team frequently clashes over strategy. It’s common for teams to put off on bringing in outside help. It’s like tidying your house before the cleaner arrives.

    2. But that’s what an outside perspective can provide: a neutral perspective with some distance from your predicament. The right agency can help you finish the dirty work and hold you accountable until you are completely aligned.

  4. You’re unsure of the path forward

    1. Moments of change can cloud the future and obscure your vision . When that occurs, it’s imperative to admit you don’t know what you don’t know—no matter how hard that can be.

    2. Perhaps you lack the right team to scout the horizon and chart a course. Or, maybe you’re having difficulty moving out of old ways, ruts, or habits. And, at least for now, you don’t have the time, resources, or wherewithal to build out those resources internally. Where do you begin? Now is the time to call on somebody who’s been there before.

  5. You’re feeling the time crunch

    1. Deadlines are tight, and you don’t have the luxury of continually iterating or guessing and checking. You have one shot within this critical window. This isn’t the time for your team to try to figure it out as you go.

    2. In any high-pressure situation, you might be tempted to press on and bulldoze your way forward. But you can’t afford to be wrong. Incorporating outside perspective can speed up the process of finding functional solutions.

  6. Critical decisions keep getting deferred

    1. Critical meetings end without action or decisions. You’ve had the same meeting for the past nine months. You just can’t commit and continue to “keep options open.” This is decision paralysis, plain and simple.

    2. Hiring outside advisors immediately moves the needle by applying pressure that forces you to decide and make things happen. An outside agency provides accountability—and process—that didn’t exist before.

  7. Your existing team doesn’t have the chops

    1. This can be hard to admit, but your creative executions are simply not good enough.

    2. Your present roster of freelancers, agencies, or internal resources might be good at pushing the ball down the field, but if you need to change the field you’re playing on, it might be time for an agency that has a higher degree of sophistication and specialization. It's time to ditch the logo the CEO’s nephew designed for you.

  8. You have the money

    1. You finally have the budget for strategies and executions you’ve wanted to tackle for a long time. New ownership or investors are giving you the resources to put behind that effort. This increased budget allows you to hire an outside agency to deliver the results you’ve been waiting for—and your investors expect.

  9. You’re told to do it

    1. A change of leadership or ownership can trigger a variety of new decisions and demands. If they want to hire an outside agency to assist with this transition, you need to listen and find one that’s the right fit for your situation.

There’s no shame in asking for outside help

We know you’ve put in much time and effort to get to this point and want to see it through. The poker pot is huge, and you may feel like you need to keep playing out your current hand. But perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that sunk-cost fallacy is holding you back. 

If you want to hear how Parliament has advised companies like yours, we’d love to hear from you .