Change is inevitable, and the GovCon industry is no exception. We’re all scrambling to see what changes will come with the new administration, where funding will go, what the impact on our government clients will be, etc. We’re also an industry of M&A (although some of the M&A shops may say it’s been slow as of late). When our company grows to a decent size, the big boys come knocking. If we’ve got a strong client relationship or unique product/niche, they come knocking even earlier in the lifecycle. We’re also an industry of movement. Senior executives shuffle from GovCon to GovCon applying their tricks to each company, some for the better, some to their detriment but all for the sake of the process.
So how do you handle the on-going changes that come from this territory?
How do you remain valuable to the new executive, new company, new client?
I submit the following considerations:
Value. Can you prove your value to both your client and your company? Can you quantify it? If you can’t readily spew off what you’ve brought to the table…RECENTLY…then perhaps you had better dust off that resume. Also note, “having a great client relationship” is not enough. That’s bare minimum. Don’t confuse your value and your recognition. Often times our most valued attributes are those that go without being publicly recognized.
Buy In. Do you scoff at the idea of new leadership, new management, or new directions? Right or wrong, that lack of buy-in (no matter how justified) will get you noticed, and not in a good way. When change initiatives are in place, early buy-in and promotion will help your team advance. This is not to say that you have to drink to Kool-Aide every time, but after some healthy discussion, there is always a fork in the road. At that junction, you’ll need to get on board or get out. Be steadfast when you find yourself in that position.
Ownership. People are drawn to those who are accountable and who take responsibility for their actions. New management will notice these attributes quickly, as their presence is rare. When something is your fault, own it. Figure out how to do better, learn from the mistake and move on. No dwelling or wallowing, and definitely don’t make the same mistake again.
Humor. Remember that everything goes in cycles. If you can’t find the humor in your position, change either your attitude or your situation.
In deciphering the avenues of transition, it is often necessary to utilize the knowledge of experts that have your back. You’re not in it alone, nor do you have to feel that way. Go back to those with whom you have a rapport and can trust to navigate their zones of genius. Doing so will allow you the opportunity to make clear-headed decisions.
Change is inevitable.
How you engage it, is not.
It’s ultimately up to you as to how you respond to change.