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Preparing for the Federal Opportunity

How are you preparing for the federal opportunity?

The Marriott airport hotel I recently stayed in had a plastic sign on the toilet tank in the bathroom, “If you’d like a bathtub mat, please let us know and we’ll bring one to your room.” My guess is that very few people call for a bathtub mat.

I was reminded of learning in seventh grade during an “industrial arts” (shop) class that you wear your safety glasses all the time when in shop. If there were an incident, such as a flying piece of debris, “you don’t have time to say, ‘wait let me put on my safety glasses.’” That’s how the lesson was taught to seventh graders.

In the world of the military and national security, information of varying classifications can develop and move quickly. People must be cleared in advance in order to then apply the second “need to know” feature of who sees and handles classified material. Many people hold clearances because they may reasonably come in contact with classified material. The clearance is approved in advance.

Preparing for the US Navy


I recently assisted a client that is succeeding with their technology in the US Air Force and US Army, but recognized that the US Navy is likely behind the curve in the use of this technology. I had prepared the client for the potential “not invented here” response that sometimes comes from offices that think they know more than they do about newer technologies. We expected to endure multiple meetings and demonstrations to satisfy a sometimes-skeptical audience.

After some introductions about what it is and how it could be implemented, sharp US Navy minds recognized they were indeed behind and needed to coordinate with the relevant US Air Force program office to capture the learning and collaborate. The US Navy program office sought some additional information with the idea of applying existing US Air Force funding to solve the same problem for both services. We were about to be fast-tracked using a funding methodology we had not previously seen applied. This opportunity will be funded for us imminently.

Do not try to tell the audience everything you know on the subject in one meeting. Click To Tweet

This was not the outcome we were anticipating, although it was clearly a strong and positive step forward. Why is it remarkable? Because we were ready to answer the bell in the moment. We had prepared, demonstrated a proven capability, considered how implementation in the US Navy could work, thought through contract options we could use, and approached the meeting with care. Our preparation allowed for a breakthrough we could not anticipate, but were prepared to take full advantage of.

Bath mats, safety glasses, and proper clearances are the nuts and bolts of preventive and preparatory actions that allow for a contingent act to prevail.

Preparing for the Federal Opportunity: Keys to This Not-So-Small Successful Meeting

  1. We refined the message
  2. We provided slides in advance and spoke to only 2-3 of them during the meeting
  3. We adhered to my 8-minute rule of messagingSM. Our message was exceptionally tight; we wasted nobody’s time; we conveyed strong credibility
  4. We did not try to tell the audience everything we knew on the subject in one meeting

The military uses a saying, “P-to-the-fifth.” Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. There are colorful variations of this phrase, but you get the idea!

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