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Communication is Key, but what is the Key to Communication?

It’s no secret that the business landscape has changed over the last decade. It has been irrevocably altered in many of the same ways as the world around us. In both our private lives and commercial endeavors, there is an increased level of connectivity that allows for near instant sharing of thoughts, plans, and ideas. Anyone with an internet connection, meaning everyone, can immediately flood the world with their thoughts on the latest congressional budgetary hearings, or how their server messed up their lunch order, or anything in between. We all know the names of the assorted sites and services that can be used in this manner so I won’t mention them directly in this post (not that we are afraid of you. Bring it on Zuckerberg; your character didn’t seem so tough in the movie). It is clear that in the modern world, and as an extension of that, the modern business landscape, communication has become a core tenet of existence.

Nowhere is that more true than in the world of government contracting. With the new Open Government initiatives, critical news and information from the government itself seems to be coming from every imaginable source. In addition to this, most contractors are now attempting to utilize new web based tools to increase efficiency both in house and with partners. There often seems to be a swirl of information around us, and it is up to the diligent contractor to pull out and retain the most relevant bits and pieces as he builds his federal contracting strategy. Without the right information, and the ability to find it at the exact moment it is needed, your government contracting efforts will appear substandard in relation to your peers. Having more information from the government, and increased communication both in-house and with industry partners, stands to increase your value in a competitive marketplace.

One question remains:

How do we filter out the noise and store the content that is necessary? We are bombarded with information every minute of every day, and much of it is, well, useless (see lunch order comment above). Much of the information you are likely to receive from the government will fall into this fluff category as well. In our personal lives it may be considered acceptable to have to sift through the seemingly endless drivel to find the occasional nuggets of interesting content that lie opaquely shaded below the surface, but anyone that is trying to operate in the government contracting environment can attest that this level of chatter can become a distraction if not approached in the proper manner. Email is the obvious answer for disseminating useful information, but I would go so far as to suggest that the classic business communication tool of email, while it holds obvious advantages over the formerly glossed over social networking abominations, falls short of what should always be the Key to Communication: Consistent access to the same information, in its simplest form, by anyone that is currently involved or may need to become involved with said information. When first becoming involved in a project, no one wants to chase chains of communication in an archeological exploration of the exchange server, or to endlessly pour over posts/blogs/messages released by the government that may or may not pertain to your project/effort.

A tailored portal-driven approach can save time and protect important information from falling off the map. As each teammate qualifies information, he can add it in a way that gives the whole team access. Now, once again, we all know there are tools that can compartmentalize data in the aforementioned manner, and I feel no need to give shout-outs to specific companies. Instead, I will proffer in an offhand, flippant, and only slightly self-serving manner that for years Winvale has seen the value in compartmentalized communication and knows its strengths firsthand. But, no matter what you choose to use as your communication tool, it is clear that one thing stands above all others as the Key to Communication: Consistency. When the government releases information, file it in a place that is easily accessible. Get your team on the same page (hopefully a well organized one) and stop anyone from reading too far ahead. The new technology may be shiny and flashy, but when you miss the next “whistle” that the customer meeting has been postponed, the cute mascot on the sites homepage won’t be able to make you feel much better.

In a government contracting world that is increasingly open, clear and above all consistent communication will keep your team up to date on everything from the end government user, the procurement staff, and even other major players in your space. We do not need to fear the data mountain associated with federal contracting. We just need to break it down and store as appropriate.

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R. Anne Hull

Respectfully, I read this post twice and still cannot find your point in all the verbiage. The key to good communication is brevity. 🙂