Wednesday, May 7, 2014

SWIM UPSTREAM.

By Paul Green, CEO

How do we make a difference in protecting our Nation, and run a business at the same time? Many small businesses (G2 included) have people in their company that individually make a difference but as a whole is there something we can accomplish that is greater than the sum of our employee’s individual contributions? And, can we do this in a repeatable way so we can create a long lasting and positive impact on our customers and employees? I believe the answer is yes.

The first question that must be answered is how you intend to create that difference. At G2 our answer to this question is to proactively and systematically turn our employees ideas into impact. To be effective, we have to start with a fundamental understanding of the mission outcomes our customers want to achieve. We must also be well versed in the challenges that will prevent them from reaching their goals both today and in the future. The best source of this insight and ideas is our employees who are embedded within customer organizations supporting a variety of mission sets.

Since anyone can conceive an idea, what really matters is what you do with the idea. At G2, we provide the resources (time, equipment and money) to our employees to investigate whether their idea can make a positive impact. Some will, some will not. There are no penalties if an idea does not succeed. For the ideas that can make a difference, the next challenge is to attach these efforts to contract vehicles where the Government can benefit from them. This often means navigating through bureaucracy, contract limitations and coop-ertition (otherwise known as teaming) and even protectionism.

I recall a time when we were a very small business supporting a very large system integrator that we received explicit instructions not talk to the customer unless the large system integrator was there as part of the conversation. At the time this seem like a reasonable request from our prime and one we weren’t well positioned to push back on. Over time, what I came to realize is that request was a very deliberate act in order to ensure that the small business would not influence the way the customer was thinking or planning. The desire of the large system integrator was that the small company should simply provide the bodies, follow the rules, punch the clock and not rock the boat. This is precisely what our Country doesn’t need.

It's my belief the reason this happens is because the thoughtful dialogue could increase the risk of delivery on a task, drive up customer expectations or costs that would create a risk to the bottom line. By its very nature the battlefield that we work on every day it's always changing so concepts like “don’t rock the boat” are antiquated and unhelpful.

At G2 I encourage every employee to be bold, question status quo, take chances and swim upstream.

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