If it is Broken, Fix it
Ever since I was a kid I have had this incessant need to fix things. Whether it is a person, a process, or a puzzle I need to try and make it better. Don't get me wrong, sometimes, things are perfectly fine, but to me there is always a way to make it better. Perhaps that is why I love what I do. The Government, acquisitions, and the proposal process are ripe with things to fix. To quote a brilliant friend of mine "there is no bottom." I am sure that to some that notion may seem daunting, but for me it is like a triple shot late. I get energized when I look at something and see an infinite opportunity for improvement. To be honest in this space, almost anything is an improvement, just talking about the problems is an improvement.
The Government and vendor community is full of dedicated, passionate people that are absolute experts in their field. It is truly impressive. When I hear people talk down about government employees or contractors it really burns me up. For every horror story you have heard I could name dozens of amazing people and companies that want nothing more than to make this country great! The problem is that so many people have been pulled over the barrel for making mistakes that nobody feels they can take that chance to do what they know is right.
For me though, it is just not okay. I can't just sit by and watch an opportunity pass by, there is just too much at stake. Chances are if you think something is broken, it probably is, the question is do you have the courage to do something about it? If you are in a position where trying to make things better will get you in trouble then you probably shouldn't be there. Of course there is diplomacy and process that need to be accommodated but most people want to do good, and the rest at least want to look good. If you see a problem find a solution! Don't just pontificate about a solution, actually create the solution. If you can set a shiny new thing on someone's desk and show all the ways it will make their life easier, their problems smaller, or make them look better they will likely endorse it. If on the off chance they wont I will bet you there is someone out there that will.
Building a solution that is not successful will bring you far more satisfaction than sitting back wishing things were done differently. Now don't get me wrong, there is a process. If you truly want to build something that works you need to now your end user, you need to know their needs, their wants, their struggles. You can't just make an assumption and run, you need to test it and then test it again. You need to have a vision. Then you need a hypothesis that addresses what you want to deliver, for whom, what it will solve and how you will measure it. If you follow this process you will learn one of two things, either you were right or you were wrong. Being wrong is not a failure, it is an opportunity to decide if you need to make changes or if it is not worth additional investment. Either way it is better than sitting at your desk complaining that things are broken and nobody is fixing it. Life is short and you need to put yourself out there if you want to make a difference. I can promise you that waiting for someone else to do it will leave you bitter and unsatisfied, so if shit is broken, fix it.