Wisdom in an African proverb

What’s new to me, you may have done several times before. So, sharing in the experience of others could help us get further than by trying to go it alone. Like the African proverb says “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.

Partnerships and Growth Director

I sometimes wonder if we have reached a point in our evolutionary journey where there is little that is new in the world, just different ways of getting to the same outcome?  

A recurring theme for me in recent years has been the proverb “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.  

Clearly, this proverb was new to me at some point, but has been around for some time. As an advocate of outsourcing and the value of partnerships it really did resonate with me. It just made sense; using the experience of the collective to deliver a better outcome.   

What’s new to me, you may have done several times before.  So, sharing in the experience of others could help us get further than by trying to go it alone. The solo journey may initially have less friction, with nobody to challenge how I’m approaching things I could make all kinds of fast progress – but admittedly in the wrong direction!  

I’ve written recently about the value which can be achieved by focusing on your core activity, working with partners and leveraging the skills of specialists can enable a business to develop or reduce costs for example.   

But what if we cannot decide our direction?  

That’s the challenge for many organisations and it’s not surprsing. We’ve just been through what feels like eight years of continued uncertainty in the wake of the Brexit referendum, a global pandemic, conflict, and the resulting economic impacts, followed by the past 12 months which have seen unparalleled development in technology.    

That feels like a lot, right? So perhaps currently it may feel better to just hold station and wait a while?  The promise of automation that is here and about to be delivered could make decisions taken today feel dated by tomorrow?   

But indecision and just doing the same is never really an option is it?  What are your objectives, what is the ambition of your organisation? Working with others makes the achievement of these much easier.  For once I’m going to suggest forgetting your immediate customer experience goals for a moment, instead think of your headline business objectives – where does your business need to be 12, 24, 36 or 60 months from now?  

Sometimes we all need a little help  

A key strength is knowing your own weaknesses and being able to ask for support. Arrogantly assuming we have all the answers never ends well.  If you know where you need to be headed at the highest level, then the strategy to get you there can take an amount of focus – and when you are trying to deliver the day to day, implementing change can be hard.   

Often, we already know what needs our attention and what we’d like to do differently. But when there are competing priorities and differing options for solving challenges, all promising to do exactly what you need, then it can be hard to determine what’s the right option for you.  

Building your own solution when there are proven ones can be troublesome, even adapting what comes out of the box can be expensive, too, as we saw when Birmingham Council tried

So why not work with others to ensure that you deliver your objectives with minimal effort and maximum focus? Partnering with others brings multiple benefits,  

  • Removes the bias of “we’ve always done it this way”; 
  • Shared knowledge, both of what worked well and what didn’t;  
  • Accountability increases rapidly when working with a third party;  
  • Partners have other clients, a community that you can learn from, too; 
  • Your investment in their solution also gives you access to their research and development, so you have ongoing benefits; AND  
  • Phasing of a project can be based on wiider experience – where you start can be informed by your priorities, but with real world insights from prior delivery.  

The key is to have the right commercial agreements to ensure that your objectives are aligned and you can work as a true partnership, as outlined in Steve Sullivan’s recent article ‘Is the traditional outsourcing contract past its ‘sell by’ date?‘.

How far is far in a CX sense?

Whether you are an organisation with an inhouse contact centre, or if you are an outsourcer or have an operation that you have outsourced already, the rapid changes in technology and their impact to customer experience means that you have to be clear “how high is high”.  

Additionally, what is “high” for one organisation may not be for another, we perhaps need to talk in the sense of what is optimum instead?  Your service ambitions may be linked to cost as opposed to quality, it comes down to the value of the product and the budget of course, so delivery should be optimal.   

All customers change their expectations based on the all the different services that they receive from multiple brands. Each helps set the expectation for the next and the changing technologies alter what is available to be delivered.  

Ask yourself realistically:

  1. How much automation do your customers want?
  2. Have you already moved to self-service everything that your customers will tolerate?  
  3. Do you really know which processes cause the most friction for your customers? 
  4. Do you always have people available to engage with your customers when they need support? 
  5. Can you afford to always have people available? Do you want to?  

 We could continue with the questions, however you get my point.


If you are about to set out on a journey to do things differently are all the potential stakeholders in your business in the right place to deliver for you?  

The level of change that we are seeing at the moment means that there are likely to be areas where your existing team may not recognise where they have blind-spots. But these are good people – they have done good things for your organisation and want to do more. Never underestimate the benefits of them working with specialists and learning from them, they will repay your investment in them if done in the right way.  

 Always consider what opportunity there is for knowledge transfer to your teams and how this can deliver additional value. 

Why not ask us to travel with you?

Working with partners offers the ability to look at things from additional angles, consolidating understanding and benefiting from wider experiences. If you have a thorny topic or challenge that your organisation is facing then why not ask the Contact Centre Panel team for a chat?

Contact us today and one of our skilled staff will assess your requirements and provide recommendations on future steps.