Category Archives: government consulting

Low Cost Technically Incapable – Revisited


As we are facing a transition of power with the hope of “Making America Great Again”, we have an opportunity, once again, to fix our broken system which continues, regardless of the party in power, to be a self-licking ice cream cone.  Five years ago I published a post titled Low Cost Technically Incapable urging the Federal Government to hire consultants based on their ability to deliver results based on proof that they can perform the work.

In a world where every penny should count, where we are told continuously how bad the economy is, do we really know what we are getting when we bring in outside help?  I can identify numerous types of consultancies that exist in the market.  However, there are two major types that are continually pressing my buttons.

The first type of consultancy is far more staff augmentation then advisory support.  These companies are nearly incapable of providing any value to their customer other than eliminating busy work and creating a need within their clients to add more staff.  These companies are growing at a rapid pace in the Federal Government due to the trend toward Low Cost, Technically Acceptable contracts.  Many of these companies are so low cost and poorly managed that they can hardly hold on to staff long enough to even get properly acclimated to their jobs.  Because of the Governments growing reliance on this type of Contractor we have seen a growing presence of the second type of consultancy.

The second type of consultancy is the Advisory Firm (i.e. Think Tanks or Federally Funded Research and Development Centers).  These organizations run on the motto that we are XXXXX and we are here to help.  Many of these organizations are considered not for profit however, they have rates that often double or triple their counterparts in the first group.  Moreover, they are extremely good at making recommendations and writing reports without ever delivering a single quantifiable result.  They create work for themselves by identifying gaps in Government processes and programs, followed by making a recommendation that includes adding more staff to the project, then expecting someone else to deliver the results that they recommended.

With these two types of companies combined we have built ourselves a whole new platform by which to demonstrate incompetence.  We lean on the low cost technically incapable companies to deliver on the promises made by the overpriced non-producers.

So, where do we go from here?  The answer isn’t as hard as it seems.  There are numerous great consultancies around the world.  These companies are reasonably priced and have renowned delivery capabilities.  They have the ability to identify problems, develop and deliver solutions all while creating a sustainable environment where the organization will be set up for long term success.

How do we get there from here?

  • Understand your needs or hire someone to help you identify those needs.  If you hire someone to help you define your needs, they shouldn’t be the ones doing the follow on work.
  • Clearly define your needs in a clearly written Performance Work Statement (PWS)
  • Identify performance metrics/goals that can be attained and will indicate the successful completion of the project/program/effort
  • Hire the people who have proven that they can do the work
  • Award work based on:
    1. Response to PWS (what they can do for you)
    2. Verified Past Performance (with references)
    3. Key Personnel (people who will be contractually bound to do the work)
    4. Price

Beyond hiring the right people to execute on the work that really needs to be done, be sure that any time you bring in contractors to provide assistance, build in a method to hold them accountable for delivery of specific products or services that clearly demonstrate a return on your investment.

Happy Leaning,

The Common Sensei

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, common sense, consulting, government consulting, Management

Talent Identification for Peak Human Performance


Corporations, Military Organizations, and Sports Teams are constantly looking to find and attract “Peak Performers”.  As technology continues to advance, it is becoming clear that the human component is most often the limiting factor in any endeavor.  Utilizing proven Lean and Six Sigma approaches in concert with expertise in Anatomy & Physiology, Kinesiology, and Psychology; we understand how the human body is intended to move, how to train an individual to perform efficiently and effectively in their given environment, and that the level of motivation an individual needs to carry out their assigned task is critical to the success of any manually driven process.  However, the question remains, even if we can make people better at what they do, how can we find the best person for the job.

You can read more about Lean Six Sigma for Human Performance here: https://thecommonsensei.com/2011/10/07/human-performance-lean-six-sigma-a-process-based-approach-to-improving-human-performance/

Expanding on the concepts presented in the article above we will refer to peak performance in terms of the 3P’s for Human Performance (Physiological, Psychological, and Proprioceptive) and that maximizing efficiency in these three areas entails reaching peak performance.

3 P's of human Performance

Physiological Factors include one’s skill set, conditioning, training etc.

Psychological Factors include motivation, readiness, self-efficacy etc.

Proprioceptive Factors include spatial awareness, coordination, etc.

In order to identify a specific talent that is best suited for any given activity we must first define what excellence looks like and then identify individuals who share common traits that can be trained to achieve or exceed the stated goal.  Utilizing our Talent Identification Model (seen Below) we can build a customized tool to identify talent, track progress and make training corrections/decisions over the course of time.

Talent Identification Model

Stage 1: Baseline Key Process Indicators for Human Performance is all about building a baseline of core competencies that are required for an individual to develop the required future state capability.

Stage 2: Identify, Filter, and account for variables that may alter individual baseline scores. Individual variables will play different roles in Human Performance.  When accounted for, these variables can be determining factors for future capabilities assessments or guidelines for the development and duration of training required for an individual.

Scale

Step 3:  Match individual Human Performance Scores (HPS) with job classification.Best In Job

  • The use of current job/position classifications in combination with the HPS from current Best in Job performers provides a Job/Task specific HPS to align new individuals to a job/role
  • On the job training can be accounted for through regression analysis and will provide a tracking mechanism to ensure that candidates/employees are on track to reach Best in Job standards

 

Individual and Team TrackingStage 4: Individual and Team Tracking.

Tracking of individuals training and performance against their Best in Job performance goals allows for adjustments to each individual or teams training and/or career path.

Food for thought

This approach has been used informally for decades in the selection of individuals to play roles in teams and organizations.  I utilize formal and informal versions of this approach in coaching as well as business endeavors with great levels of success (see Trust the Process, Winning is the Result).  By instituting this approach, organizations can create their own longitudinal study to identify causal relationships which can boost their production.  If you know that people are the key to your organization’s success, shouldn’t you be maximizing their talent?

Until Next Time,

Happy LEANing,

David Allway

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Coaching, efficiency, government consulting, Human Performance, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Management, Soccer