I hope everyone had a great New Year’s! And the same goes for Christmas and all other December celebrations! Yay! I spent some time in NY at the beach house (definitely not beach weather!), so it was a great time to recover from the Great T4NG Work-a-thon Extravaganza, and do a little reading. I got a great book on Lincoln, sort of a political continuity theme, tracing the influence of the founders on his own development as a leader, as a thinker, and as a political philosopher on the questions of liberty and inalienable right. Just to keep in practice, also worked on two proposals that are due in a few days; one in VA Capital Planning, and the other VA/DoD/HHS Data Interoperability management and support. It was very sunny in NY, so when I wasn’t eating, sleeping, reading, or writing, I was walking on the winter beach and boardwalk. They were short walks, as you can imagine, and the brutal weather had the benefit of focused thinking; like how quickly can I get from here to the fireplace! J Here are a few of my other thoughts, for your consideration.
Without reviewing the year in detail (you were there!) it was a great year. We met and exceeded every goal we set. Pretty amazing, actually. For the record, we doubled in revenue, kept everyone working, had zero turnover, won significant new contracts in Data Management, Acquisition Support, IT Governance, Lean Six Sigma (winning over 44% or our bids), and extended and expanded almost half of our existing contracts. We also upgraded our accounting, financial management, recruiting, professional development and IT infrastructure, deployed a new website (www.t3-tigertech.com), set up the initial VICI Lab web presence (http://www.vici-labs.com/) and landed a probe on a comet! OK, that last one was the European Space Agency, but still pretty cool; maybe we launch our own space program once VICI Labs gets Cold Fusion worked out.
So what’s next? Our principles and strengths remain the same: willingness to risk and to dare greatly; investment in talent, in our company and in our partners; technical and process innovations; continual transformation, insight and improvement. Always being better, always trusted, talented and tireless, all the stuff that got us here. But where are we going, and how will we get there? I am not sure I have all the answers; in fact, I am sure that better answers will evolve and will come from you; but here are some of the big questions, in my view.
- Sustaining and building on what is great about our company while making improvements. How do we keep our principles and add to our capabilities? We are a great company; how do we get better?
- Developing an organic, agile, self-propagating professional path for new T3 Tigers. As much as we might want to work forever, we need to find, select, grow and transform the new folks that are our coming leaders and innovators. How do we set them up to win, to be better than we are, to think and do the things we can’t think and do?
- Maintaining the ever shifting balance between choosing what opportunities to exploit, and managing the influence of those opportunities on our company. Significant contract awards add significant capabilities, talents, and opportunities, and nothing succeeds like success. Are we in charge of our contracts, or are our contracts in charge of us? How do we balance building and growing, and which comes first?
We had a rump meeting on strategy in October and developed an outline of some of our new challenges. Some have already been initiated, and some are still under development. I will be briefing the company in more detail later in January on our plan and timeline, but here are some of them:
- Embedding and documenting our coaching, training, and professional development process to answer two questions:
- What can you do better?
- What can our company to better?
- Expanding our internal analytical and modelling capabilities, both in terms of professional skills and tools.
- Developing our budgeting, forecasting and investment process
- Establishing VICI labs as a stand-alone organization
- Building our external ‘up and out’ communication plan to customer, partners and influencers, and our internal ‘down and in’ communication to sustain and expand our cultural expectations.
- Increasing our company credentials and visibility; ISO 9001 certification, visibility with key customers, and industry influencers, attending critical conferences
- Improving our continuity and authorities’ process and capabilities; handling leadership deficits, disaster recovery, rapid response to opportunities and challenges.
I look forward to discussing these topics with you. As Nancy says, ‘Everyone brings their stick to the fire’, and as Ted has notes ‘What got us here will not get us there’. I am fully confident, however, no matter what the future holds for us over the next few years, that we will meet those challenges together, and will surprise ourselves, again, with our mastery and resilience. To paraphrase Steven Covey; we may not always chose our circumstances, but we always chose the way we respond to them.
Happy New Year!
Talk to you soon!