August 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm #168472
I often get asked by young acquisition professionals for career advice, both here on GovLoop and LinkedIn.
My advice often revolves around managing your career, since this specific career filed is one of the most challenging in government. Rules and regulations change almost daily, and it is difficult to keep up with some much change, let alone being able to grasp the myriad of current rules on the books.
However, my advice as of late has also centered on not getting polluted by rotten cultures that are teaching younger 1102s bad habits, such as ineffective contract management, mistreating contractors, or getting jaded, burned out, and quickly looking for the exit.
1) What advice do 1102s, with five or less years experience, really need to be successful?
2) For those who fit that category, was has worked and what has not?
3) If mentors are not readily available, what are you doing, or have done, to get the level of competent, effective information and guidance needed to perform?
August 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm #168488
Really think from everyone’s viewpoint (and ask them about their concerns) – program managers, your bosses, & contractors. If you can understand how everyone interacts and everyone’s different motivations, you can understand how to best server your customers
August 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm #168486
Steve’s advice is a Stakeholder Analysis, since verifying requirements is done this way. You can make the best decisions when you have all the facts, and everyone’s perspective. It is difficult to make effective decisions, or any decisions for that matter, with incomplete or insufficient data.
August 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm #168484
Patrick A ReillyParticipant
Love what you do or find some other way to earn a living. Procurement,when done correctly, provides quality products and services to your agency mission and looks out for small businesses, labor and the environment. There is a lot to get excited about so get excited.
Never Stop Learning – If you have not completed your FAC-C training make a schedule and work the schedule. It doesn’t happen by itself and if you don’t take an active role in scheduling to get into your classes you will never obtain certification. In addition to formal training, do the work, ask questions and participate in conversation (Wifcon.com, Govloop etc.), read the FAR and the FAC’s as they come out, read the recent GAO decision and cases.
Remain Flexible – There are many different ways to tackle procurements and procurement related issues. There is usually more than one right answer. Learn to evaluate possible approaches, execute solutions and document your rationale and you’ll be golden.
Let People judge you by the problems you solved, not the problems you identify. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and identify what is wrong with a situation, but unless you’ve come up with a workable solution it may be better withhold judgment and grab a shovel to help. People want problem solvers and result generator on the field, so if all you do is identify problems you could be relegated to the bench.
Build Confidence in you Competence – Be honest with those you work with and it is OK not to have all the answers. It is far better to say you don’t know and that you will findout and return with the right answer, then to provide the wrong answer with all the swagger in the universe. Saying you don’t know when you don’t actually makes you appear more confident and credible…..as long as you come back with the right answer. Also, if you say your going to do something do it.
August 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm #168482
Love #3 – problems you solved
August 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm #168480
Why is admitting you don’t know everything seen as a problem? People put their heads in the sand, and hope the issue goes away or won’t make decisions. How is that problem solving.
August 28, 2012 at 3:38 pm #168478
Patrick A ReillyParticipant
Hi Jamie: I don’t see it as a problem at all. That was my point…folks don’t need to try to pretend they have all the answers. When they don’t know something it is perfectly ok to say so, then follow up with the right answer.
With regard to not sitting on the sideline finding problems I did not intend say it is ok to ignore problems, In fact it is good to use tools to manage problems to resolution (issues logs). You just can’t spend all your efforts looking for problems, you need to work the issues. Maybe it is just me, but I’ve experienced team members that will not be particularly involved in a project then “parachute in and cockle doodle doo” just to be heard with problems, sometimes there are valid points, often times it is just distraction. I won’t criticize any comments because it’s all risk mitigation…..I just prefer a hero over the arsonist firefighter
August 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm #168476
On the same page Patrick. I wish more people would simply acknowledge they do know something, as opposed to the cockle doodle doo, as you stated. That seems to pass as leadership and management, in some circles.
August 31, 2012 at 4:08 pm #168474
“It is far better to say you don’t know and that you will findout and return with the right answer, then to provide the wrong answer with all the swagger in the universe.”
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