In every organization, there are the superstars and there are those who are struggling. The level of skills and capabilities can vary greatly across members of the acquisition team. But what happens when you are one of the superstars?
Government managers need to get the job done, and in acquisitions, there is little margin for error. While superstar CORs/Contract Managers may get a pat on the back, and even bonuses if they are lucky, they also are likely to be called upon to pitch in for their weaker colleagues. Failure or non-compliance is not an option in acquisitions.
So what happens when you are good? People ask you questions. They ask you for examples. Ask you to review their work. Ask you to contribute to their work. Ask you to do their work. You get more contracts assigned to you because you are capable of doing so much more and doing it so much better. Those who are struggling get fewer contracts assigned to them because there is a risk that things will go wrong.
And the amazing thing is that true superstars rarely complain—that is because they are superstars. While they are so capable, lumping more and more on them is not the way to effectively manage procurements. It’s like always giving the ball to your star basketball player while the rest of the team stands by and watches.
Anyone who has ever coached their kid’s sports team can tell you that your real strength is in your team. If you bring up the skills of your whole team, you will win a lot more games, even if it does take a lot more time and effort to teach and engage your whole team. The same is true in contract management…
If managers can provide the knowledge, skills, and tools for their whole team to excel, then the whole team will grow in capacity, your superstars won’t be so overburdened, and you will have a greater sense of confidence and ease knowing that you are doing your job well.
How can this be done? Good training is the first step, but the real challenge comes in day-to-day performance, and the ability for managers to gain real-time oversight. Fortunately, this is an area where technology can be an enormous help.
With effective technology, your superstars can help guide your strugglers by providing templates, samples, and instructions on how to perform work that is consistent with your organization’s best practices, and your procurement management system can be pre-populated with this information. For example, if you provide a collection of good IGCE (cost estimation) templates to your staff, the next time they have to complete an IGCE, they will have a much better idea of what you are looking for and will likely do a better job. You set the standard and show them how it is done.
The next step is to make sure that they are following the examples and doing their best work. This is accomplished through real-time oversight. Again, technology can give you a window into this work and allow you to identify and correct persistent areas of weakness.
Working for the whole team requires focus and effort up front, but the dividends can be enormous. And your superstars will love you for it!
- A Passion For Management (jaycaplan.com)
- The Importance of Strong Government Oversight (civilbeat.com)
- Navigating Government Contracting (buildmybiz.com)
- Procurement Degree: Necessary or Not? (headexposed.com)
Theresa Wilson is CEO of GovProcure, and designer of the first contract management cloud software for federal CORs, evaluators, and managers. To find out more about how GovProcure can help your organization, please call (571) 389-7284 or email Theresa at firstname.lastname@example.org.