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Lessons Learned | The CIO-SP4 Saga

We can confidently say that even if you’ve been living under a rock in the govcon industry this past few months, you have still probably heard the shouts regarding CIO-SP4 delays, amendments, and drama. Short of rolling our eyes one more time at the craziness of it all, what lessons can we take and learn from to better prepare our proposal teams for the next big bid?

BOOST has teamed up with Cy Alba and the team at PilieroMazza to focus your attention on several key elements to better prepare for future bids (we’re thinking, Polaris!?).

Need: Teaming
CIO-SP4 required several specific areas of past performance from across the board making it very unlikely for single companies to have all of the boxes checked. This brought about the opportunity for teaming, but with a caveat, there had to be documented history, actual work completed or in progress. Gone were the opportunities to have a quick coffee and call it teaming. What’s a business to do?

Lesson:
Build out your relationships early and with purpose. This was a stark reminder that no business in our industry can exist as an island, even during a pandemic. Flexibility in opportunities, areas of work, and specialties is paramount to the successful teaming and documented history for a partnership to be deemed efficient. Look down the pike at what may be to come and how that might affect your current and future teaming opportunities. If you are looking to be a Prime, analyze what areas you’re weak in and find teaming partners to fill those holes. If you’re a Subcontractor, take the time to build and show value to the big guys to remain top of mind for new opportunities.

 

Need: Systems and Certifications
The Government provides draft RFPs and scorecards to help you make successful bid and no bid decisions. This isn’t the time to get creative in shoving square pegs into round holes. Though the requirements might seem like guidelines more than rules, more often than not they showcase the important parts of the RFP prior to the drop. Even the mundane counts here – really read through the entire scorecard, not just the past performance quals.

Lesson:
Implementations take time, period. Trying to slam in an approved accounting system or EVMS purchasing system within a 30-day crunch is unrealistic and paves the way for mistakes. Look at previous RFPs and similar proposal awards to see where you can get ahead of systems, processes, and implementations. Seek conversations with partners and industry friends to discuss what they’ve found useful and if it makes sense for your model of business.

Lesson 2:
Do not rely on your teammates for these certifications, especially large companies that you teamed with only to utilize their certs for your scoring. Prepare your go/no-go analysis with the assumption that you have to stand on your own credentials. Any additional latitude by the government is just gravy.

 

Need: CAGE Code Readiness
DLA has been taking between 20 and 30 days to issue CAGE codes recently. Under the FAR you must have a CAGE code prior to bidding on federal work. Thus, if you are required to form a JV to secure the points required to win or to overcome go/no-go factors, you cannot wait until the RFP drops or else you will likely have no time to set up the new LLC or partners, and secure a CAGE code in time to bid.

Lesson:
You need to plan ahead and perhaps set up a few LLCs to have in reserve. We used to recommend that small businesses or mentor/protégé teams form at least two JVs at any given time to make sure they always have one in reserve. Well, at this point, if more procurements start to limit the ability to use subcontractors it will become important to have a LLC or two in reserve (which already are fully registered in SAM and have CAGE codes) to be prepared to pivot. Otherwise, you are set to scramble to find friends, partners, or teammates who have dormant LLCs. Because DLA is taking, possibly, 30 days or more, and there is no way to expedite the CAGE code issuance, you cannot wait or reverse course at the last minute. Understand the SBA rules or other rules that agencies must follow and then focus on teaming in those areas because the RFP cannot overrule law. So you can use the law to plan ahead!

 

Need: Quick Turnaround

Assume that all agencies are working on tight turnarounds. The speed of government is one that is never constant. The hurry up and wait mentality is for the post-proposal process, not before. What you know and can prepare for now should be actioned ASAP.

Lesson:
Use previous RFPs and on-ramp information to inform your timelines. If you’re looking to get an 8(a) that could be a nine-month or more process. Waiting until an RFP drop to begin these processes is an inevitable failure. As the phrase goes, the price of success is eternal vigilance.

 

Need: Compliance
Contracting Officers put the requirements to write a winning proposal directly in the RFP. Everything you need is there so this is not a time to flash your creative spin on how you can slide something into a place it doesn’t necessarily belong. For CIO-SP4 the “CTA” issues were a major point of concern, many firms are trying to get creative by forming 9.601(1) CTAs not understanding what they really are and not understanding other FAR or CFR rules that apply on top of the RFP (like the SBA JV rules). Also, firms see “CTA” and thing “GSA CTA” which is wrong.

Lesson:
Focus on the law and the regulations required for the agency to allow. Prepare for the most restrictive plan. In the event that the requirements are lifted slightly, you’ll still be well within the means of compliance, but you’ve prepared to batten down those hatches. Also, knowing the specific regulations as they apply to your business (i.e. small businesses acting as JVs) and how creativity can invite increased risk will help you to mitigate some headache should there be an investigation or protest.

Overall, we’ve learned some specific yet helpful things throughout this CIO-SP4 process. While these were merely the highlights of items you can take action on right now we can’t leave you hanging. So, just wait, there’s more! On August 30th, 2021, Stephanie Alexander and Isaias “Cy” Alba joined the GovCon Untethered Podcast for a discussion surrounding how to best mitigate and prepare for this new season of GWAC RFPs. Listen here.

 

Learn More

If you have questions about the CIO-SP4 RFP and its impact on the government contracting community, please contact the blog’s co-author, Isaias “Cy” Alba, a partner in PilieroMazza’s Government Contracts Group.

PilieroMazza, a business law firm, serves as a strategic business partner to government contractors and commercial businesses from numerous industries that operate nationally and internationally. With attorneys from a cross-section of the Firm’s core practice areas––including Government Contracts, Mergers & Acquisitions, Labor & Employment, and Litigation & Dispute Resolution––working seamlessly as a team to support the legal and business needs of their clients, PilieroMazza attorneys offer thoughtful and thorough solutions to protecting their clients’ business interests.  Our knowledge on how laws are administered, productive relationships with decision-makers at various government agencies, and “boutique” business model, make PilieroMazza uniquely qualified to provide clients with highly valuable and exceptionally skilled representation. For more information, visit www.pilieromazza.com.

BOOST LLC provides government compliant and strategic corporate back-office operational support and candid business advice, combining our team of experienced and trained professionals with the drive of entrepreneurs to enable small businesses to become successful with government contracting. We have SMEs to support our clients’ growth in the areas of accounting, branding and marketing, contracts, HR, recruiting and strategic pricing.

Mid-Year Accounting, What You Need to Know!

It is mid-year planning time, and our Accounting Team would love to share with you a few items that should be on your radar. We are here to help you succeed, and we are committed to Quality, Proactiveness, and Communication.

Let’s jump right in!

 

  1. Budgeting and Forecasting – Budgeting and Forecasting are very important to track projected gains or losses. A few items to think about: Are you forecasting quarterly? If not, you should! Ensuring full visibility on how your projections are going against actuals is extremely important for stability and planning for growth. Additionally, if your 2021 budget is not trending upward as expected, you need to know why, and what is causing the variance. For 2022 budgets, August and September are the perfect months to start planning before the end of the year rolls around and you are scrambling to get one set up.
  2. Pipeline – Planning for growth requires a lot of effort, specifically creating a healthy pipeline. Make sure you keep on top of your projections as well as your win strategy. Review your pipeline no less than bi-weekly. What changes are needed to ensure success? Do you have the right partnerships/subcontractors? Are there any events occurring that would put you in the game? Are you marketing to the right people? Do you have the right credentials needed to win more work?
  3. Pricing – This is a big one. When was the last time you reviewed your pricing? Are you competitive enough? If you do not feel comfortable with your pricing, now is the time to take action. In the govcon space, you cannot afford to be asleep on the wheel. Taking a proactive approach to monitor your pricing and make adjustment is a must.
  4. Accounts Receivables – Cash is KING! How is your AR trending? Do you have a lot of uncollected cash sitting in your 60-90 days aging? It is imperative that you review your AR monthly, and if in a cash crunch, review it weekly. Keep on top of sending collections reminders and make it very easy on your clients to make payments, whether that be offering ACH options or a 3rd party service like bill.com. Bottom line is to make it extremely easy for them to pay.  Additionally, do you have amazing clients that pay promptly? If so, and if your company can afford it, offer an incentive or discount for prompt payments! Relationship building is key to the success of your business.
  5. Accounts Payables – On the contrary, are you paying your vendors extremely fast? Are you seeing your AP aging is less than 30 days? It is important to know how these quick-pay behaviors impact your cash. It is ideal to keep vendor agreements to 30-45 days, and only priority vendors as less than 30 or pay upon receipt. It is a great time to review your vendor payment terms and renegotiate if needed.
  6. Vendor Analysis – How long has it been since you last negotiated payment terms with your vendors? When was the last time you looked at your priority vendors to ensure a mitigation plan is in place should such vendor cease to exist? When was the last time you rated your vendors performance, quality, and services? This is the perfect time to put thought and energy into these pieces!
  7. 1099 Preparation – Do you have W9’s for all qualified vendors? 1099 submission deadline is right around the corner (end of the year) and taking a proactive approach to ensure you have all W9s would ensure compliance. If you find you don’t have W9’s, reach out to your vendors now and give them plenty of time to reply with one. Create a folder to keep track of them, or make sure to upload them in your accounting system. Additionally, you should have them marked as 1099 in your system for reporting on the total value paid. If you have paid a vendor more than $600, they will need a 1099 from you. Other considerations should be taken into account, however, it’s best practice to ask for one from all your vendors and keep records of such requests. Any vendor not complying, make sure to note that too.
  8. Indirect Rate Monitoring – When was the last time you looked at your actual monthly indirect rates and compared them to your company’s provisional billing rates? How are you trending? Have you had material change and need to submit a revised incurred cost submission? All things to consider before the end of the year.
  9. Salary, Wages & Bonuses – Have you heard of “The Great Resignation”? This is the time to review your employee’s performance bonuses, wages, and payouts. Are you competitive enough for the current job market? If not, this is the time to do a quick check for end-of-the-year bonuses and raises! How is your benefits plan matching up to your employees’ expectations? Do you need to set up a 401K matching program? Reach out to your HR representative to ensure the best benefits package is being offered, and if not, what changes are necessary? Cost-benefit analysis is key here to ensure your return on investment (ROI) is worth it.
  10. Policies and Procedures / Handbooks – Your Accounting Policies and Procedures manual should be up to date, however, if not, this is the perfect time to review and make sure it is. Do you have segregation of duties? Are you in compliance with all govcon regulations; how about GAAP? Is it documented? What is your capitalization policy? Additionally, do you have a corporate handbook that you need to revise? This is the time to make sure all your ducks are in a row and it’s well documented. Policies for HR, IT, Accounting, et all need to be in place.
  11. Tax Strategy – Have you had a mid-year tax planning with your CPA? If not, this is your friendly reminder to reach out to them ASAP! Are you making estimated quarterly payments? Are you trending a high net income and need to plan for additional expenses before year-end? Do you have any capital expenditures on hold that need to be re-evaluated? Lastly, have you made sure your 2020 tax filings have been processed and submitted due to an extension? Any changes in equity? Mergers and Acquisitions are also a hot topic this time of the year – valuations are well underway.
  12. Legal Entity Re-evaluation – Make sure that the business structure you have is the right one for your legal needs. If you are not sure, reach out to your Tax CPA and ask! Additionally, make sure you know the legal implications of any changes should you decide to make one. Do not forget, an unfortunate event can occur at any time, and you need to be prepared. Make sure you have a succession plan and or a trust set up if anything should happen to you or a business partner!

While we are positive that we provided you a lot to chew on, BOOST also has the SMEs to back it up. If you’d rather have a conversation to dive deeper into any or all of these pieces, reach out to our accounting team at [email protected]. We’re ready to help get your books locked and loaded for your next phase of growth.

 

Whack a Mole Leadership

Perhaps it’s the chaos of 2020 or maybe we all are trying to multi-task more than ever, but I’ve seen an uptick in what I would describe as “whack-a-mole” leadership.  You know, where one week there is a push to go in one direction.  The next week, that initiative changes or falls off the radar, and we focus on another thing.  The “Squirrel!” type of attention span that your dog has.  Or your 5-year-old.

By constantly shifting focus and redirecting the team, you see the following:

  • Lack of buy in – if its changing next week, just hunker down, agree and ride it out until people stop asking about it
  • Worse…buy-in – Only to find that it’s not really a thing and then expectations and hopes are dashed. This can lead your team to NOT buy in on something really good the next time. Don’t be the boss who cries wolf too many times.
  • Burn out – If you keep moving the ball, people get exhausted trying to get to the goal.  Let’s face it, we’re all exhausted this year anyway. This isn’t to say that if you meet your previously set goals that you shouldn’t keep moving. Just don’t pick up the finish line before the team has a chance to get there.
  • Lack of results – Everything is half done/half-implemented/half thought through.  Nothing is completed and nothing is moving, which means no one is making money.
  • Higher multiplier – Generally, this means lots of time on Overhead or G&A, driving your wrap rate up while not getting the results or efficiencies that you were probably striving for.

2020 continues to be a hell of a year.  It does require changing quickly, figuring out what works and dumping what doesn’t efficiently.  That doesn’t mean that you can reverse course on absolutely everything. Foundations need to remain intact and stronger than ever. It’s hard to see what the next month brings, much less next year.  But while you do have to stay agile, you also need to be thinking longer term as we start edging closer to 2021 and budgeting/goal setting for next year. If you’re looking for a push in the right direction, connect with Stephanie and let’s see where you can shift focus toward a more efficient direction.

 

The word of the quarter is: FOCUS!

The FAR is Not Far Away for Small Businesses

We get it. You are a small shop, and the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) is just another acronym in this hectic GovCon space. You are busy drumming up business, and who has time to think about FAR compliance? You might think the FAR is far, far away from you since you are a small business. Wrong! The applicability of the FAR to you as a government contractor (or subcontractor supporting a government contract) is not based on your business size.

Why?  Well, it all comes down to public policy.

In a recent case, the 9th Circuit summarized:

that the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) provisions “while undoubtedly extensive, permit the government to maintain fairly uniform contracting standards in the many contracts it enters into with parties located in the United States and around the world…To allow contractors and subcontractors, foreign or domestic, to evade the FAR provisions because a subcontractor was too unsophisticated or inexperienced to fully understand them would potentially cripple the government’s ability to contract with private entities and would violate controlling federal law.” Aspic Engineering and Construction Company v. ECC Centcom Constructors LLC; ECC International LLC, No. 17-16510, D.C. No. 4:17-cv-00224-YGR, 13 (9th Cir. Jan. 28, 2019) (“Aspic”).

In short, public policy wins.

The government needs to be able to buy with a level of risk mitigation in place. Do you want your tax dollars going to a deal that turns bad because the guys building the new facility failed to follow their FAR flow downs? Not really.

Yes, it is challenging to compete in the GovCon space, but there is a sense of serving the public that makes the challenge worth it. However, that means you have to play by Uncle Sam’s rules. Even the one-man-bands building souped-up servers with robots attached to them in their garages have flow downs to contend with if they are going to sell to the federal government under traditional acquisition mechanisms.*

In the name of public policy, even if certain FAR clauses are not “flowed” into your contract, a judge will find them applicable to your contract “by operation of law.” G.L. Christian & Assoc. v. United States, 160 Cl. Ct. 1 (Cl. Ct. 1965). The famous Christian Doctrine was applied to Federal subcontractors in UPMC Braddock et al., v. Harris, No. 1:09-cv-01210 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2013) (“UPMC”).

One of the traditional avenues for small businesses to gain a foothold in the GovCon space is through subcontracting, often thinking it is easier because they do not have to follow all the same rules as their prime contractor counterparts. However, based on UPMC, following the FAR, is required no matter what. There is no free pass for small businesses.

Even though we just threw a whole lot of legal ease at you, we don’t want you to be stressed about FAR compliance. If you need a plan to get your act in gear, BOOST LLC has experience setting small businesses up for success in the lean-and-mean style.

*There are Other Transactions Authorities that exist purposely to allow the federal government to pursue non-standard government contractors without the application of the FAR. There is good news! We know a great OTA Consortium Management group.

 

 

MilSpouses | Value for Business

As the local unemployment numbers continue to be a record low rates and we all talk about the war for talent, unicorn candidates and the ridiculous salary expectations for some of the workforce, there is a pool of talent that is often overlooked…the Military Spouse (also known as: MilSpouse).

Why should you consider these folks?  Our initial response is why not?
Off the top of our heads:

• Change agents
Businesses change quite a bit and who better to understand and go with it than someone who is used used to packing up their stuff and moving to a completely new environment every few years?  These folks don’t scare away from change…they sometimes crave it.

• New Environments
MilSpouses go into completely new environments all the time.  They can adapt and mold to their new circumstances, quickly.  They don’t waste months trying to figure out the new clients or getting up to speed on new technology.  They immerse and they adapt.

“Figure it Out” mindset
Often MilSpouses are on their own while their spouse is serving.  They don’t know all the answers, but they can figure stuff out in a hurry.  This extends directly to their work.  We don’t hire folks who know everything…we hire folks who are smart enough to know where to get the information needed.

• Community
While a MilSpouse can absolutely figure it out, they also are great at adapting and relying on others in their community.  Need something done?  They will organize and support with precision.  There is nothing a group of MilSpouses can’t tackle.  This extends to their teamwork approach.  MilSpouses are unique in that they can be a rock star individual contributor, but also play quite nicely on a team.  Did we mention that they are adaptable?

As you struggle to fill your team, ask yourself if you’ve overlooked one of the best sources of employees in the business.

And a quick note to MilSpouses out there – There are employers out there who value the above.  Not every job needs to be 40 hours a week, nor does it need to be done in person.  Don’t put your own career on hold because you feel there aren’t companies that understand your needs.  Work with employers who understand your value.  “MilSpouse” does not equal unemployed or even underemployed.  Know your value, keep your skillset up to date and seek employers who get it.

 

Corporate Housekeeping

As we turn our attention to back to school sales, last summer vacays, finishing up our trashy beach novels and start shifting towards the fall, it’s a good time to take a minute and do some general housekeeping. Face it – it will be the holidays before you know it!

GovCons, you are in the lull between the storm – proposals are submitted, awards are forthcoming but not here yet. Tt’s a great time to catch up on some of the mundane, but necessary parts of doing business.  It’s boring, and always gets pushed to the back burner as more revenue-generating opportunities come in.  But ignore these at your peril – they always come back to haunt you at tax time, during a transaction or with any litigation.

We’re kind of like sour patch kids, here at BOOST. Now that we’ve given you a bit of a gut punch, here’s a quick checklist to keep you sane:

1. Org Chart
When was the last time you actually updated it?  Do it now before you onboard all the new contract wins.  This way it’s readily available.  Now might also be time to consider if folks are really in the right positions/titles.

2. Articles of Incorporation
Time to dust it off and make sure it’s still legit and up to date

3. Board meeting minutes
For privately held companies, this can feel like an administrative task you don’t want to do.  Remember that these board meeting minutes come in handy when you are looking toward a sale, are in litigation/disputes and are just plain good practice.

4. Tax Filings
Given all the changes, are you structured the way you should be?  If your uncle is still providing all of your advice, it might be time to get a second opinion.  Are you maximizing your tax status for your long-term strategy?

5. State filings
We always forget that when we add new employees in new states, we suddenly must start filing taxes.  Be proactive about registering and don’t let it be a nasty surprise year in arrears.

6. Insurance
When was the last time you sat down and went through what you are covered for and where you might have gaps?  I absolutely HATE this practice but make myself (and another person to get a different perspective) sit in the excruciating meeting and review everything.  Line by freaking line.  It’s horrible, my broker hates us, but we’ve discovered multiple things that weren’t covered or that we didn’t need to pay for.  It’s worth the investment of time (and sanity) once a year to know your risks.

 

If you need help with anything, we’re happy to give you our advice or introduce you to others that have that specialty.  Don’t slack off as we head towards the fall.  It will only come back to haunt you when you least expect it (or have time to deal with it!).

What is a CPSR and Why Should You Care?

We recently told you about the Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR) process, and today we will (attempt to) convince you to care about this mega-compliance hurdle. If you want to read more about a CPSR, check out our white paper here.

There appears to be a trend in government evaluations looking for CPSR compliant contractors. CPSR compliance was an extra 500 points for the recent OASIS bid.  Many of our competitors will happily sell you a CPSR package without blinking at the cost or whether you actually needed it.

Who needs CPSR?
First, the main factor we tell our clients is to assess how much subcontracting work they do.  If your business weighs heavily on issuing a myriad of subcontracts or large procurements in support of your prime contract awards, then you have checked the first box to “needing” a CPSR compliance plan.  The remaining boxes are comprehensive.

Second, if a majority of your work is with the DoD, you may want to consider checking out DFARS 252. 252.244-7001, the regulatory birth of what a CPSR compliant system looks like. Finally, if your contract says you have to be CPSR compliant – we hope you already have systems in place to pass an audit before signing the dotted line.

Finally, most organizations do not like or want a CPSR compliance plan because of the heavy administrative burden it places on corporate processes.  Think about the last time you waited for a large GovCon to issue you a subcontract that was allegedly “on fire.”  In most cases, the subcontractor is issued a letter subcontract or works at-risk with an authorization to proceed (also part of the CPSR compliant program) before the “real” subcontract is issued.  This is because nearly all GovCons with CPSR compliance programs have to take several steps to coordinate awarding a procurement.  These steps were put in place to comply with CPSR requirements.

If we have not talked you out of it and you are ready to start the box-checking, administrative hurdles of CPSR land, consider an organization like BOOST that will tailor a compliance plan to fit your organization. We will not open a canned manual and serve it to you on a platter. We exist to add value. We can provide a customized CPSR plan; if you need it.

Lowering Your Wrap Rate

Did you make it into your desired beach bod state this summer?  Or was time for the gym illusive?  Did you cut back on the dessert or did you enjoy a ton of gelato?

Much like dieting and maintaining good health, government contractors must maintain a “sexy” multiplier/wrap rate.  Even if you are in a less competitive field or have a unique offering for a customer with a ton of funding (if you are, good on you), you must still monitor and maintain your wrap rate.

Companies can sometimes view this exercise as an annual corporate budget, where you occasionally look at how you are doing and often look back and ponder “what were we thinking?”  This is not enough by a long shot.  Best practice is to review your financials each month and include analysis on how you are performing on your wrap rate.  Review monthly, adjust quarterly, consider a complete overhaul semi-annually.

Most companies find that they need to tighten the belt a smidge, especially as we push into the fourth quarter.  For some, it may be too late to rein it in this year, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start pushing for the 2019 indirect diet.  For others, it may be a great time to lose a few pounds before the year-end festivities.  Here are some suggestions for both year-end and next year:

  • Space – do you really use it; do you need it and what is your company culture? Larger System Integrators are shedding their bloated infrastructure.  Don’t build one unless you’ve got 5-year POP’s with all contractor site rates.  And even then, keep it lean.
  • Wellness – When was the last time you competitively shopped your benefits? Or even your broker?  Don’t get tied up in the same old “we only have a 2-5% increase, so that’s great” mentality.  Depending upon your size, self-funding in some capacity may be of interest.  Does anyone actually use the vision policy?  What about dental?  Have you considered reducing your contribution?  Not always popular but it may lead to new work.
  • Training – with all of the online options these days, does your team really need individualized training or would an online package work? You could offer this benefit to more employees at a lower overall cost.
  • Education – consider reducing the tuition reimbursement if very few people are using it. It’s nice to tout to potential new hires, but in reality, it’s not a deal-breaker.  If it is, bonus the employee out to cover the costs.
  • Business Development – is the team on track to meet their goals this year or has performance been underwhelming? It is time to take stock of what’s working and what isn’t and shed a quarter’s worth of labor costs for non-performers.  Let them go now while the job market is still firing up.  Layoffs or terminations after Veterans Day essentially mean no job until after New Year’s.  Make the hard call now.

Keep working at the wrap rate and make sure it’s as lean as you can survive on.  Not bloated, but not extra thin either – you need a little wiggle room to ensure a healthy company.

GovCon Voices: A Culture of Compliance

As seen on SmallGovCon.com

When we talk about the federal contracting industry, one of the first things that comes to mind is compliance. We are an overly regulated industry with a ton of laws to abide by, FAR changes to keep up with, legislation of which we need to stay on top. None of it is particularly easy or straightforward, and it sometimes takes experts to keep your organization in compliance. In short, no one can claim they are 100% compliant, nor can they claim to know everything with regards to this industry, especially a GovCon CEO. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that no one expects this of the CEO. However, your attitude towards compliance goes a long way within the organization. The example you set at the top will filter throughout the organization and will go a long way towards establishing and maintaining a company culture that follows the rules of this industry. We all talk about making sure that the company is not on the front page of the Washington Post for getting into hot water with the law or for debarment.

How can you contribute to that as a CEO?
How can you build your organization to take it seriously?
How do you keep from bogging down the wheels of progress and allow the mission goals for you and your clients to be met?

Lead by Example. It sounds so easy, is in every leadership book, and is touted on every trending article on LinkedIn. But ask yourself, who fills out your timesheet? Do you throw 8 hours of your time into G&A and call it a day? Do you have your admin fill out your timesheet? Do you approve your direct reports? Every GovCon has a timekeeping system that requires daily input and ultimately, signature submission and approval of direct reports time.
Do you travel according to JTRs and/or within the per diem rates? Do you expect your folks to abide accordingly? As a GovCon, you just don’t travel extravagantly. Ever.

Put your Money where your Mouth is.  How many emails from the Timekeeping Goon have you received? Do you ever take the time to find out who the repeat offenders are and to speak with them about these transgressions? Ever told your top sales person that they could have their pay docked or lose their jobs if they continue to be non-compliant? It’s that type of discussion (and action) that shows that the company values compliance and takes it seriously.

Have you had your HR folks scrub through your labor categories and the folks associated with them…proactively? Have you righted any salary discrepancies to ensure that your workforce is fairly and consistently paid according to skill set and experience? These suggestions all are dictated by FAR compliance and laws, but in general, they emulate good advice.

Be the leader that the GovCon industry needs and keep your company on the front pages for the work you are contributing to this country; not for running afoul of the rules.

See the original article: http://smallgovcon.com/govcon-voices/govcon-voices-a-culture-of-compliance/#sthash.4Ahp75Xd.dpuf

Green

Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
-Mark Twain

In today’s environment of competition, LPTA, race to the bottom (insert any other overused term we throw around in the GovCon world), we all talk about “greening the staff” as a way to cut our costs on proposals. But who really does it and more importantly, who does it successfully?

Typically, we say that in the execution of a 5-year contract, we can move the more seasoned employees to other contracts and replace them with more junior employees who will learn from the best, and do their jobs more efficiently and at less cost. In reality, this means we replace seasoned and expensive employees with less expensive employees under the guise of “career advancement.”

Contractors bet that a year into execution, the government will absolutely LOVE their seasoned SME’s, and therefore will cough up more funding in the out years not requiring the transition of staff.

What happens if that isn’t the case? 

Contractors tell their seasoned SME that they have to take a 20%+ hit on their base salary or they yank them to a more profitable contract and backfill to the minimum labor category requirements with little to no transition or cross-training. The result? A bad taste in everyone’s mouths, most importantly the government.

What if we did what we claimed we would do in our management plans?

What if we told our SMEs in contract kick-off that we were going to start grooming their replacements and incentivized them to help train them successfully?

What if we spent the time to recruit the right person for the transition? A person wanting to work with the agency and grow professionally. What if we made our government customer part of the transition plan and they knew all along that there would be new teammates in the out years?

Imagine if we actually provided the career growth for our SMEs, built our workforce with energized, well-trained folks who could help win the re-compete and, topping it off, actually *gasp* saved the government money?

Yes, it means forethought and planning. Yes, it is harder than just asking for more funding. If you want to grow your company and your team successfully and thoughtfully – try greening the staff.

Just do it the right way, the first time.