Tag Archives: COVID-19

Government Contracting Survey – Pandemic’s Impact Mixed But Outlook Strong

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WASHINGTON TECHNOLOGY/ DELTEK INC

“The findings of the 2021 Deltek Clarity report identified areas where industry benefited and where they suffered as workers were sent home, projects were delayed and agencies pivoted. But things were not as bad as feared. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, overall confidence was not significantly impacted “

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“The COVID-19 pandemic certainly had a broad and wide-ranging impact across the federal market.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, overall confidence was not significantly impacted. The report’s Contractor Confidence Index is 140.1 versus the 143 reading for 2019.

The impact of the pandemic was not as dramatic as may have been expected. Fifty-three percent of respondents said there were no impacts on existing contracts. But 22 percent did report delays involving existing contracts.

The story was a little less positive with new contracts. Forty-five percent of respondents said there was no impact on new contracts, but this time 31 percent said they experience delays.

Some of the challenges respondents shared include coordinating with clients (63 percent), adjusting processes (52 percent), managing dispersed resources (49 percent) and delivering projects remotely (44 percent). Respondents were allowed to pick their top three challenges.

To respond to the pandemic many companies had make workforce adjustments. Half of the respondents said they saw no change to their workforce, but when you look at the other half you see a wide range of responses:

  • 17 percent froze or reduced salaries
  • 14 percent had layoffs
  • 13 percent did not pay year-end bonuses
  • 12 percent furloughed employees
  • 9 percent held off promotions

Looking ahead, 71 percent of respondents said they expect revenue to increase in 2021 and 23 percent expect sales to stay about the same. Only 7 percent expect sales to fall.

This shows a strong confidence because 23 percent saw sales drop last year. But 39 percent saw growth and 38 percent said sales were flat.

The optimism was boosted by a belief that the pandemic is under control, a change in the White House, and the ability of agencies to turn their attention back to normal activities instead of responding to the pandemic.

“The outlook for 2021 is bright,” the report concludes, “as revenues are expected to grow and the effects of the pandemic recede.”

Preparing The Defense-Industrial Base For Post-Pandemic Work – Three Principal Observations

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“DEFENSE NEWS” By: Karen Dahut , Gen. Dennis Via (ret.) , and Aimee George Leary 

For decades, the defense-industrial base has struggled to recruit and retain top technology talent that is the lifeblood of keeping America’s national security competitive. The need for a skilled, ready defense workforce has never been greater. 


Beyond our current workforce, a more flexible, virtual future for the industrial base allows us to envision a talent pool beyond traditional military hubs to create more capacity to pull in top STEM talent nationwide.

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“Return to work.

Return to the office.

Return to normal.

The national headlines, industry events and casual conversations with colleagues reinforce the notion that we will return to the workplace as we left it in 2020. In the defense industry, we should not accept this as inevitable. The work paradigm has shifted, and we have an important opportunity to go forward, not backward. We must take advantage of what we have learned and of changing attitudes and perceptions of what the workplace of the future is.

The past 18 months have taught us that the defense workforce is adaptable, productive and collaborative in a virtual environment. We need to reflect on the successes we’ve achieved in quickly accelerating to telework by reframing the culture of the defense industry and resetting for the future of work.

In January 2020, before offices across the United States were shuttered, the National Defense Industrial Association released “Vital Signs 2020: The Health and Readiness of the Defense Industrial Base” and gave industry a failing score — a “D” in defense industry production related to skilled labor, goods and services, and raw materials used to develop end products and services for the Department of Defense.

The talent challenges of the defense-industrial base are well documented and made even more complex by requirements to be on or near military installations.

In light of the evolving geopolitics and China’s continued investment in STEM education as well as the evolution of its military-civil national security posture, now is the time to rethink how we can attract, develop and retain top talent in the industrial base.

We are poised to update our workplace norms in a post-pandemic world. We know our talent is eager for the opportunity to engage in hybrid work environments that provide flexibility for work-life balance and a chance to evolve workplace culture to retain the technology tools that have become ubiquitous to many teleworkers. In a recent Booz Allen Hamilton survey, 82 percent of our colleagues indicated a flexible work schedule is the most appealing aspect of the future of work.

Beyond our current workforce, a more flexible, virtual future for the industrial base allows us to envision a talent pool beyond traditional military hubs to create more capacity to pull in top STEM talent nationwide. We’ve seen firsthand the power of a distributed workforce during virtual technology demos, which save travel time and dollars.

Recent memos from the Air Force and Navy indicating that their workforce will be 50 percent work-from-home indefinitely provide a model for how the broader defense community can adopt progressive approaches that will provide greater flexibility to the workforce.

As leaders across industry and government begin to reset and reframe the future of work for the defense-industrial base, we would offer the following observations from our own experience and those we’ve heard from across industry:

First, leaders must model the way. Military, civilian and industry leaders must set the conditions for hybrid work, signaling to their workforce a priority on flexibility, engaging colleagues both in the office and in telework, and using in-person collaboration time more meaningfully.

On the topic of meaningful collaboration, leaders must reset how they use in-person engagement. In pre-pandemic days, cubes and offices near bases and installations were sometimes a stream of meetings better handled over emails. This status quo will no longer work; we need refreshed approaches to in-person collaboration.

Second, leaders have an important opportunity to balance collaboration between those in the office and those working virtually to create an inclusive environment and drive toward meetings with greater purpose and productivity.

Finally, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Classified spaces, laboratories and watch-center work will always require in-person elements. But consider how the government, the military and contractors at these facilities may be afforded more flexibility — whether through flexible work arrangements or compressed days. Given the transformational moment we are in, this may also be a time to consider and review what work must be conducted at classified facilities and what may be conducted remotely.

Now is the time. Leaders from industry and the Department of Defense must reset and reframe the future of work for the defense-industrial base. The ability to attract and retain the best and brightest talent in national security technology today and in the future depends on it.”

https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2021/05/13/preparing-the-defense-industrial-base-for-a-post-pandemic-work-routine/

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Karen Dahut is the executive vice president and global defense group lead at Booz Allen Hamilton, where retired U.S. Army Gen. Dennis Via is the executive vice president and a leader in the firm’s Joint Combat Command business and Aimee George Leary is executive vice president and talent lead.

6 Questions For The Boss Who Wants You Back In Your Cubicle

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“GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE” By Rachel Gutman – “THE ATLANTIC

“Offices, by their nature, are playgrounds for germs. People are crammed together for hours and hours each day, shaking hands and sharing air and touching doorknobs and faucets and fridge handles.

Companies probably don’t need to follow every single precaution laid out here in order to keep their offices from turning into a full-on viral amusement park. But the more steps they commit to, the better off their workers will be, this year and in the long run.”

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“Lidia Morawska has been working in her office for months. You might think that’s because she’s an aerosols expert, and her work is crucial for helping bring the pandemic to heel. But really, it’s because she’s an aerosols expert at Queensland University of Technology, in Australia. The country has recorded only three cases of community transmission of the coronavirus in the past week. Although Australian offices and classrooms have lowered their maximum capacities and are still observing social-distancing guidelines, Morawska told me, no one wears a mask to work, except in the rare case of a local outbreak. “Basically, life is back to normal,” she said.

Still, going back to work took some adjustment at first. “It felt strange,” Morawska said. “It was that feeling [of being] in between. What’s real? What’s not?”

Many Americans may soon have the chance to experience such a surreal return to work. With an average of nearly 50,000 cases reported per day over the past week, the United States is still far from a full return to the fluorescent-lit, slightly coffee-scented glory of pre-pandemic work. But now that the majority of adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, time in the office likely feels imminent for the millions of workers who went remote during the pandemic. Several of the nation’s largest companies have announced that, between May and September, they’ll begin asking employees to work in person at least some of the time. In a survey conducted late last year, three-quarters of executives said they expected their offices to operate at 50 percent capacity by July.

If your boss is one of them, you might be wondering how your company plans to protect you from the coronavirus. After a year-plus of pandemic life, employers have had plenty of time to prepare to keep office workers safe at their desks, but some workplaces have still fallen short. So here are six questions that any company should be able to answer before asking its staff to set foot in their cubicles. Raising these with your boss might be awkward, but they are a first step to ensuring that your company is taking everyone’s health and safety seriously. In fact, many of them deal with workplace practices that employers should always be thinking about, even after the country and the world escape the grip of this deadly virus.

1. What have you done to review and improve airflow in the office space?

Joseph Allen, the director of the Harvard Healthy Buildings Program, told me that this question is essential. “If the answer is ‘Nothing,’ or ‘We’re meeting code,’ that’s not enough,” he said. Last month, Allen co-wrote a paper recommending that the air inside buildings should be replaced four to six times every hour to reduce transmission of the coronavirus—far more air turnover than is currently required for most buildings other than health-care facilities. That replacement, Allen said, could happen through bringing in more air from outside or through filtering and recycling indoor air.

It’s also important, Morawska noted, that new air is distributed equally around a space, leaving no pockets of stale air where particles can linger. If the air in your office is not refreshed often enough or circulating evenly enough, she recommended that employers place stricter rules on how many people can be in the space.

2. What are the company’s vaccination policies?

The CDC has given fully vaccinated Americans several freedoms over the past several weeks. If it’s been more than two weeks since your last shot, you can meet inside, unmasked, with other vaccinated people—or even with people from a single household who have not yet gotten their shots. You can travel without testing and quarantining. But offices are tricky, because many are likely to include workers with a mix of vaccination statuses for at least a few more weeks, if not even longer.

If your company requires you to be fully vaccinated to enter the office, bosses can likely ease up on some other safety measures. Allen said it’s safe for a fully vaccinated group to have an unmasked meeting, for example. In that case, it’s important for you to understand how your employer will verify your vaccination status, and how it plans to accommodate people who aren’t protected.

3. Do I still have to wear a mask?

If your office isn’t requiring full vaccination for all employees, masking will be an essential tool for keeping everyone safe. Those lucky enough to have a personal office and a door can probably safely take off their mask inside, according to Allen. But if you won’t be the only person in the room, he said, “it’s a good idea to put the mask back on at least 30 minutes before others enter,” to give the room’s air some time to clear. You might also consider asking your boss if they’re thinking about providing door-closed, mask-free time to everyone on staff, because those with private offices also tend to have more status in the workplace.

For people who have been working from home for a while now, returning to the office in masks will mean retraining themselves on many small, reflexive actions that have come to make up the workday over the past year, such as constant grazing or belting along to your pump-up playlist. “It’s very different wearing your mask when you go run errands, and then wearing it all day and working in it,” Saskia Popescu, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at George Mason University, told me. Workers will need to have places to take breaks throughout the day to snack and hydrate, and to just give their ears a rest from holding up all that fabric. Popescu suggested that employers hold meetings outdoors as much as possible and make plans for staff to eat in private spaces or outside. She also said that bosses should provide masks that are comfortable, fit well, and filter out airborne particles.

4. Can I still work from home sometimes?

Even if going back to the office is relatively safe, occasional remote work will still help with inconsistent child care, doctor appointments to deal with the lingering effects of a coronavirus infection, and the other complications that the pandemic has introduced to Americans’ daily routines. Bosses will need to accommodate workers who are uncomfortable returning to the office (if they’re immunocompromised, say, or live with someone who is), and set expectations about remote work if anyone feels under the weather.

As my colleague Amanda Mull has written, American employers are particularly bad at allowing and encouraging their employees to stay home when they’re sick. That pattern can and should be mitigated as we recover from the pandemic. If you have the sniffles and can’t work from home, Morawska recommends wearing a mask to the office, even if your workplace has loosened its masking requirements.

5. How will the office be cleaned?

If surface cleaning is the only safety measure your office is taking, that’s a red flag. As the CDC acknowledged last month, “surface transmission is not the main route by which SARS-CoV-2 spreads,” so Cloroxing your desk once an hour is probably not going to make much difference in whether you contract or spread the virus. According to Allen, “deep cleaning” measures such as fogging and electrostatic spraying are especially unnecessary.

[Derek Thompson: Deep cleaning isn’t a victimless crime]

All that said, offices always have been kind of nasty, even before the pandemic. One 2019 study found that disinfecting high-touch items and encouraging good hand hygiene in office settings can reduce the amount of viruses on surfaces and workers’ hands by 85 percent. So while a little extra cleaning might not fend off the coronavirus, keeping a less germy office certainly doesn’t hurt. One cleaning a day should do the trick, Allen said.

6. What happens if something goes wrong?

The best-laid schemes of workers and bosses often go awry. Given the speed with which the coronavirus is still moving through the United States, even people in well-protected workplaces still have some possibility of being infected. Your boss should be able to lay out a thorough communication plan in case it happens in your office. Will the company notify you if a co-worker has COVID-like symptoms, or only if they test positive? Will the entire office be told? How and when will the information be delivered? If a co-worker does test positive, will the office be closed? For how long? The appropriate answers to these questions will vary depending on the specifics of your office and the ever-changing state of the pandemic. What’s important is that your employer has answers.

Sometimes, disasters lead to changes that would have been a good idea to begin with. Other times, disaster strikes and nothing changes. Morawska has been lobbying the World Health Organization to adopt stricter indoor ventilation recommendations since the SARS-1 outbreak nearly 20 years ago, but she says it hasn’t done nearly enough. Instituting higher standards might have helped control the initial spread of the coronavirus through the United States last year. They also would make us healthier, even outside a pandemic. “We know that better ventilation is associated with many positive benefits: better cognitive function, better performance on reading-comprehension tests in schools, better performance on math tests, fewer worker absences,” Allen told me.”

https://www.govexec.com/management/2021/05/6-questions-boss-who-wants-you-back-your-cubicle/173801/

In Search Of Leadership At The National Personnel Records Center

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MILITARY TIMESBy Rep. Warren Davidson

“Last March, like many other government office buildings, the National Personnel Records Center closed in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Unlike many other government agencies, the NPRC’s primary mission cannot be carried out remotely. the center — which houses all the military records for America’s service members — remains barely operational.

Four stories and some six million square feet in St. Louis house millions of hard-copy records that make up complete service histories for America’s veterans.  Veterans need these records to access the benefits they earned while protecting our freedom. Without them, veterans cannot access VA health care, VA home or student loans, obtain burial honors, or get COVID vaccines through the VA.”

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“As federal, state, and local governments attempted to sort American businesses into “essential” and “nonessential” designations, the importance of keeping the NPRC up and running was overlooked. A combination of decisions from the Office of Personnel Management, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the City of St. Louis have never allowed the center to be staffed at more than 25 percent capacity — if it was open at all.

In the meantime, a backlog of some 500,000 outstanding records requests has piled up. Each request represents an individual who faithfully served this country and is simply trying to access the benefits the U.S. government promised them.

Over the summer, more congressional offices became aware of the growing backlog of requests. These requests, which should take days to complete, were now delayed by weeks and months. In December, recognizing the importance of maintaining operations of the NPRC, Congress allocated $15 million to the center with the intent of fully reopening the center and reducing the backlog. In late March 2021, the VA announced a partnership with National Archives to vaccinate employees. This good news came as 185 members of Congress joined me and Rep. Deborah Ross, D-N.C., in calling on the Biden administration to correct this bureaucratic negligence.

However, when I personally visited the center in St. Louis, I was disappointed at the center’s lack of urgency and its overall complacency. The center is emphasizing its digitization project, which will enable more work to be done remotely. Certainly, this is an important facet of modernizing the center, but veterans need their paper records now.

Funerals, medical care, emergency housing — these essential services for veterans cannot wait on a record digitization project. Waiting for VA loans and GI Bill benefits means putting life on hold, hoping that the delay will not permanently hamper important milestones like graduating college or buying a home.

The focus should be on fully staffing the center, around-the-clock, to eliminate the backlog. So far, there’s no plan or benchmarks in place to determine when the center can return to full capacity. But at the current rate, veterans can expect to wait 18 months to two years for their documents. Such a delay is an unacceptable failure. Our veterans deserve better.

For $15 million and vaccination prioritization, Congress should not have to worry that our veterans are falling through the cracks. Even the NPRC admits the situation is unacceptable. A spokesperson for the center recently told Coffee or Die Magazine, “We know we are failing. We know the situation is untenable, and we are eager to fix it.”

Americans expect military readiness from our veterans when they serve, but we’re treating a service for veterans as if it is an unimportant museum collection. I’m asking that the National Archives and Records Administration and the Office of Personnel Management to get the NPRC back to fully operational — even if it means purchasing HAZMAT suits

Alternatively, we could look again to the National Guard. Over the past year, governments have deployed the National Guard for a variety of missions to aid states at food banks, COVID testing sites, most conspicuously, to reinforce police in cities across the country and bolster security at the U.S. Capitol. Perhaps we can ask the Guard, once again, to help.

These are a few immoderate proposals I’ve considered, although the cleanest solution would be to modify the occupancy limits at the NRPC as employees are vaccinated. To assure our veterans that we have not forgotten our obligations to them during the pandemic, I hope the NRPC and its parent agencies will articulate a plan that will eliminate this backlog in a timely manner and with the same sense of urgency we expected from our veterans when they served this country.

As I’ve said throughout this pandemic, “Anyone can find an excuse, but leaders find a way.” I’m determined that we find a way to fix this eminently solvable problem for our nation’s heroes.”

https://www.militarytimes.com/opinion/commentary/2021/04/29/in-search-of-leadership-at-the-national-personnel-records-center/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rep. Warren Davidson represents Ohio’s 8th Congressional District. He enlisted in the Army after high school and later earned an appointment to West Point. As an officer, he led in The Old Guard, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the 101st Airborne Division.

A Pandemic Year 2 Forecast For B2G Sales And Marketing

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WASHINGTON TECHNOLOGYBy Mark Amtower

While there was some adjustment to the pandemic environment, government contracting has not been impacted the same way the rest of the economy has been hit.  As we enter year two of the pandemic, here are a few things companies should consider.

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“Last spring there were hundreds of articles regarding what to do during a pandemic, my own columns included.

In April of 2020 I wrote about the LinkedIn basics for the pandemic: keeping your profile current, finding content to share, staying in close contact with current accounts, and monitoring both your LinkedIn home and notification pages for opportunities to employ soft-touch social selling tactics.

Then in September I followed up with some thoughts on the emerging “new normal,” including telework, virtual meetings and conferences, and more and better use of LinkedIn and other social platforms. I also touched on the need to further differentiate your company and refine the SME platform as needed.

Most of the companies I have spoken with or advised over the past year are still working closely with their government clients, being awarded new contracts and task orders, and they are being paid on time.

In this we are most fortunate.

Telework and work from home (WFH) are here to stay. I am not saying this will be full-time, but it will certainly be part of both the public and private sector workplace moving forward. From all that I am hearing, federal managers and their industry counterparts are pleased with the productivity of teleworkers. Plus, very few miss the commute.

Virtual meetings and conferences. Our market was quick to adapt to virtual platforms. Sure, there were and are glitches, but the migration to virtual has occurred and is not likely to be totally reversed. Even as we hear about “Zoom fatigue,” the use of virtual meeting platforms continues to expand.

One answer to the fatigue issue would be to train your speakers and improve the quality of whatever is being presented. People who are boring online would most likely be no better live. Also understand what an optimum length is for online presentations.

Finally, this is still a relationship driven market, so where and how you develop and manage your relationships is key to your success. Like telework and virtual meetings, LinkedIn has to be a cornerstone for this effort. Do not assume your people are good about using LinkedIn simply because they are there. How employees engage on LinkedIn and other social platforms reflects directly on their company.

View LinkedIn as a team sport where mutually supportive teammates can share company information, help reinforce the brand message, engage in account-focused marketing and sales, further establish the core competencies of the company and build SME positions for their respective market niches. A little LinkedIn training could go a long way

I am looking forward to engaging in a face-to-face market sometime in the not too distant future. In the meantime, you can find me in a variety of Zoom sessions and always on LinkedIn.”

https://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2021/03/11/insights-amtower-covid-lessons.aspx

About the Author

Mark Amtower

Mark Amtower advises government contractors on all facets of business-to-government (B2G) marketing and leveraging LinkedIn. Find Mark on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markamtower.

SBA Corona Virus Relief Options

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SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

We’re here to help you overcome the challenges created by this health crisis. We offer multiple funding options for those seeking relief. Read more below.

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“Relief Options

Our nation’s small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, the first of several relief packages for American workers and small businesses.

In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, the CARES Act and subsequent legislation established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak.

Paycheck Protection Program


This loan program provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program.Learn more

COVID-19 EIDL


This loan provides economic relief to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.Learn more

SVO Grant Program


The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program provides emergency assistance for eligible venues.Learn more

SBA Express Bridge Loan


Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.Learn more

SBA Debt Relief


The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.Learn more

Cross Program Eligibility


A summary of criteria that must be met when considering different funding options.Learn more

https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options

Pandemic Response Drives DOD’s Sharp Uptick In OTA Spending

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DEFENSE SYSTEMS

“The Defense Department issued an unprecedented $16 billion in other transaction agreements in 2020, half of which was dedicated to its response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Defense Pricing and Contracting Agency annual report.

Other transaction agreements are a relatively new authority that allows for faster acquisitions and are typically used to attract startups and non-traditional companies to do business with DOD.”

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“DOD’s use of OTA’s more than doubled from $7.4 billion in 2019 to $16.3 billion in 2020 — $7.7 billion related to COVID-19, according to the report released Jan. 28.

Despite the increased spending with OTAs, DOD reports having fewer contract actions last year for the military services and Defense Logistics Agency compared to 2019. According to the report, contract actions dropped 8%, with an 9% increase in contract obligations. Military services alone saw a bigger jump in contract obligations at 11% and a smaller dip in contract actions at 4%.

The agency’s report also spotlighted a purported reduction in Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation at 11%, while also publishing more than 82 revisions for issues including cybersecurity, services, acquisition and supply chain risk.”

How COVID Has Changed Successful Proposal Writing

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“WASHINGTON TECHNOLOGY” By Lisa Pafe

Federal government contractors must adjust best-practice techniques in our new normal.

Verbalizing and writing succinct, high-quality information nuggets grabs and holds wandering minds and is central to perform effective capture and to write winning proposals.” 

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“The COVID-19 pandemic impacts our attention spans—both negatively and positively. In a world of digital distractions, our customers already suffer from a lack of focus due to multi-tasking, stress, information overload, and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). Proposal content must speak to Source Selection Evaluation Board (SSEB) officials dealing with the disruptions caused by working at home and the resulting pandemic meeting fatigue.

Targeted information

More information is not necessarily better, but personalized, targeted information is.

High quality begins with understanding the customer and tailoring content to their values, constraints, risks, and hot buttons.

Yet, while pandemic stress may make customers lose focus, it may also have the opposite effect. Anecdotal conversations with government contractors and a bit of research leads me to believe that some customers may have more time to examine details. By eliminating long commutes, water cooler conversations, office parties, business lunches, and the like, some customers may use this found time to dive in more deeply.

Capture and proposal professionals may notice proposal submissions generating more questions and requests for clarifications as well as debriefs that point out additional perceived errors in the form of Weaknesses, Risks, and Deficiencies. Therefore, proposal content must do it all—attract distracted government evaluators to discriminating Strengths, while providing enough detail for the deep dive.

The three types of readers and how to attract them

Skim and scan: Modern readers skim and scan content to find what they need. Once they find desired content, they dive in more deeply. In the proposal world, government evaluators may skim and scan to find items on their scoresheets. To help them find desired content (Strengths), use visual cues such as theme boxes, icons, white space, and distinctive fonts to point to the value proposition. Make all the Strengths and Significant Strengths apparent and eye-catching so they are impossible to ignore. Cut irrelevant content and fluff that further distracts those already distracted.

Search and find: Today’s government source selection officials often use acquisition software and/or content search tools that help them locate scoreable narrative, check compliance, and document Strengths, Weaknesses, Deficiencies, and Risks. Some agencies are even experimenting with artificial intelligence (AI) to help with proposal evaluation.

Help evaluators use automation to your advantage. Create headings and subheadings to match RFP instructions, evaluation factors, and other requirements in the PWS/SOW with cross references in parentheses. Include compliance matrices and maps where possible. Map all Strengths to key words as well, and consider using the words “Strength” or “Significant Strength” to point to winning content. Identify risks and present mitigations to increase evaluator confidence in your company’s prospective ability to perform the work.

Laser focus: Without long commutes and the distractions of water cooler conversations, social lunches, and birthday parties, some government evaluators may have greater focus on the details. All of the above tips apply, but additionally, look at proposal content with a critical eye.

  • Does the narrative presenting the solution explain not just the what, but also detail the how and the why? Show understanding by providing the context for the approach.
  • Does every feature of the solution have proven benefits? Always provide evidence for benefits, and quantify results and achievements whenever possible.
  • Does the proposal identify risks and provide mitigations? Identify, prioritize, and address important risks to increase the evaluator’s confidence in the solution.
  • Does the proposal ghost the competition? Increase confidence in your solution versus the competitors’ by presenting potential Weaknesses and Risks of alternate approaches while proving that your solution provides greatest benefits at lowest risk.

Emulating the different types of evaluators

The SSEB will likely include different types of evaluators. Therefore, take a role-based approach to color team reviews. Always use government scoresheets to score and rate the proposal. Always assign a compliance reviewer. In addition, assign proposal reviewers specific roles such as the skimmer and scanner, the search and find, and the laser-focused evaluator. Compare results when you take these different perspectives. Improve your proposal submission accordingly.

Changes are here to stay

The pandemic has changed the way government employees work, and it has changed the way evaluators may approach your bid. Greening of the workforce staffs SSEBs with modern readers more likely to have little patience for irrelevant content and compliance issues. Stay agile and adapt proposal content to the different work styles of SSEB evaluators.”

About the Author:

Lisa Pafe

Lisa Pafe is a capture strategy and proposal development consultant and is vice president of Lohfeld Consulting. She can be reached at LPafe@LohfeldConsulting.com

3 Entrepreneurs Navigating COVID

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Image: MicroMentor

MICROMENTOR” – Written by Katy Mitchell

COVID-19 has struck a devastating blow to small businesses, and we have heard many stories of the incredible hardships faced in every corner of the world. At the same time, we have found hope and inspiration in stories of courage, resiliency, and strength from our community. Mentoring has proven again and again to be a vital resource in the face of economic hardship.

Here are 3 entrepreneurs from around the world who have been using the pandemic to launch, pivot, and grow their businesses.”


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Shannon (The Bahamas)

Bahamian entrepreneur Shannon was struggling in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, only to be hit again by the economic downturn of COVID-19. After hearing about Mercy Corps’ RISE Initiative and MicroMentor on a local radio station, Shannon joined and connected with mentor JP Michielsen. JP had an idea to help Shannon’s business: launch a COVID-specific deep cleaning and disinfection service.

With JP’s support, Shannon has successfully grown Neucco Solutions into one of the most modern and technologically advanced cleaning businesses on Grand Bahama, securing contracts with resorts, yachts, the shipyard, and small offices. “I cannot begin to totally summarize how the assistance of my mentor has aided me in building this new business, from advice on marketing and insurance to help with my logo and pricing tips. I am certain that without the help of my mentor my idea would have still been just that.”


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Katherine (USA/UK)

After finishing her degree in May 2020, American entrepreneur Katherine knew that she wanted to take advantage of the time provided by quarantine to launch a holistic health coaching business to support women and young people navigating Lyme disease. Armed with a rough plan for her business, Katherine joined MicroMentor and connected with Singapore-based mentor Eric Jude.

The pair bonded over a shared prioritization of creating meaning in business. Eric provided Katherine structure and accountability, and guided her through the process of identifying her target market, brand, client funnel, and service packaging. With Eric’s guidance in her toolkit, Katherine has started working with her first client and hopes to continue building more mentoring relationships to help her business flourish: “The biggest value is having a relationship where there are no unrealistic or unfair expectations…[my mentors] genuinely want to give back.”


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Sakher (Jordan)

Sakher, a young Jordan-based entrepreneur, decided to turn his passion for game development into a successful business. While developing his game, Earth Rage, Sakher recognized his lack of experience in business planning, development, and marketing and joined MicroMentor in 2019 to find a mentor who could provide advice.

When the pandemic shut down Amman and cities around the world, Sakher made use of his quarantine time to work on building his business and launching his game. He connected with more than 20 expert mentors on MicroMentor who have helped him gain the professional skills he needs to continue growing his business.

https://www.micromentor.org/blog/navigating-covid/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

[KM]
Katy Mitchell is the Digital Marketing Specialist at MicroMentor 

COVID – 19 Tax Credit and Filing Assistance

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