When decisions need to be made, the accuracy, timeliness and relevance of the information you acquire, is of the utmost importance. 

If you agree with my previous assertion, the next one should be a layup.  

Where you get your information matters. 

While it may seem commonsense, rarely does it work out that way for many contractors and vendors. Part of the reason is the availability of the Government Contracting equivalent of pyrite, also known as Fool's Gold. Like its mineral equal, the commoditized offerings referred to as "market intelligence" delivered in an aesthetically pleasing user interface to your desktop or mobile device, are abundant and more easily found. The catch is trying to cash in on their outputs.  

Many federal sector prospectors are discovering the mother lodes they invested in, via a monthly or annual subscription, are a bust. Here are some reasons why this is true. 

  1. In my last post, I asked "What's Your Number?" as in, how much information do you need to get to a decision, or a contract win. I call this counting the dots. The question for the supposed easy button, subscription-based mines is, how many of the dots needed to score a victory can you find in that subscription mine? Is it thirty percent? Fifty percent? I have yet to meet anyone who claims they can find most or all of their dots in this way. Let's assume this is true. It means you have to invest time and money to prospect in another source to get the rest of your dots. Not quite the easy button most were hoping for. For this reason, we educate and train using the original sources of these dots, so you have a benchmark for testing the accuracy, relevance and timeliness of dots found in other mines. 
  2. What happens if you purchase your mine from someone who has lesser ability to discern truth from fiction in Government Contracting. Generally, the assumption is the owners and operators of the mine you bought into are experts at this stuff. Most often, they and their teams know less than you about our industry, which means a lower likelihood they will catch errors and omissions. This means the value of the information you are ingesting to support important decisions will cost you [more] money versus helping you make money. 
  3. Changing the look of dots, changes the overall meaning of the information. On several occasions, I have reached out to the operators of some of the more well-known mines with a query related to how they achieved a certain result or how they visualized information. The discovery in almost every instance was related to their having relabeled a little or a lot of the original content as part of their aesthetic enhancements, effectively changing the outcomes associated with the data. A real-life example of this was an operator changing the Award label of Definitive Contract to Indefinite Delivery Contract. All of the associated actions and obligations took on a new persona, and changed the direction of market research and growth activities for anyone using dots from this mine. Again, this is a true story. 
  4. Who would you believe? I was leading a meeting between Industry and Contracting and Program officials from a Federal agency a few years ago. These federal agency officials were conducting outreach and providing valuable insights, which was appreciated by everyone in the room. During Q&A, a gentleman from Industry thanked the officials for their time and information and subsequently asked if they were certain about the list of dates they provided for upcoming procurement activities. Why? Because they were different from the dates he received in an email from the operators of the mine he was using to get his dots. Another true story.

Developing knowledge and skills to validate information, regardless of the source, begins with understanding the meaning and use-case of the information, as intended by the authors. In nearly every case, authors means Acquisition and Contracting executives and professionals at Federal agencies. In short, it means having context for what you see and hear in Government Contracting. Without this context, the efficiency of Business Development Life Cycle activities is far less than optimal. 

Under the umbrella of Ethical Stalking for Government Contractors®, we teach small and large companies this knowledge and these skills every day. We would be honored to enhance your federal sector growth objectives by instilling these abilities within your organization. 

Peace and Success  


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