Getting someone else to do it
We were once told by a wise old creative that being an art director is a piece of piss, all you have to do is get other people to make you look good.
In a sense it's true, commissioning the right photographer, illustrator, designer, director can make the piece of work look great. We found a lot in our old agency we were constantly being scuppered 'from above' from using great people to make the work the best it could possibly be. We'd dread phrases such as "Can't we just get him to do it?", "Can't you do it?", "I'm sick of paying for this" etc etc etc. We could make it look good ourselves, but we weren't really striving for good, we wanted great.
We had a project where we wanted some lovely hand drawn type and wanted to use a great typographer called Ben Weeks. The process went on for a while and we were assured that we could use him. In the end we were told we couldn't use him and would have to do the type ourselves. We made a decent job of it, but that's all it was, decent, acceptable. It could have looked great, but because we used the wrong person to do it it wasn't the best it could be, it was just good.
A good example of this is on The Book Design Review blog and concerns the two pictures above. The Johnny Cash cover is done by Shepard Fairey the Led Zep one by someone who's trying to do a style like Shepard Fairey. Now the Led Zep cover looks good, but the Shepard Fairy one looks great and that is the difference in using other talented people.
The difference is, why make your work good, when it could be great?