Greetings. If you're a government contractor an essential part of your business is winning "recompetes"–i.e., winning the opportunity to keep working on a project or program. And, if you've done a good job in meeting your customer's objectives, there should be reason for optimism about your chances. But that's only half the battle. Because times change, needs change, people change, and even the best of relationships have a tendency to get a bit stale. So while past performance is very important, agencies also need to know what you can do for them now and moving into the future. And most are also hoping for a spark of innovation that can rekindle an aging flame.
"Well that's obvious enough," is probably your first response. Yet I'm constantly amazed by the number of leading companies that fail to prepare effectively for critical recompetes. Resting on their proverbial laurels until the new RFP hits the street, then scrambling to put together a credible bid filled with just the right new ideas and just the right hastily gathered set of "partners." Ideas generated in the waning moments of battle, rather than in an ongoing and systematic process of understanding the customer's evolving needs and building an inspiring plan to achieve them.
In fact, the right time to prepare for a recompete is the moment we begin the initial contract. It starts when we show up, ask questions, listen with conviction, share ideas, test possibilities, and take the initial steps to create real collaboration. And it continues as we consistently strive to expose them to our best thinking and the best thinking of the world around us. Thinking that can be leveraged together to reframe the challenges they face in meeting the needs of their customers. And that is continually translated into big and small innovations that matter today and also provide a solid foundation for helping them to succeed in the future. Thinking that is adaptable in the face of changes in their world.
We win in business by being prepared long before the present is upon us. And by continually bringing new ideas, people, and energy to those we have the privilege to serve. It's not simply a challenge for government contractors. But for any relationship that's worth keeping.