Teaming in GovCon: Why Does It Matter?

-As shared by Stephanie Alexander

Government contracting is all about inherently helping the US government solve its problems. Those problems are solved using taxpayer dollars, and therefore there is a higher accountability than in other industries. This underlying truth is the basis of all things in GovCon.

With this truth comes the realization that most companies cannot do everything. They cannot solve every problem (at least in a timely and cost-effective manner). Nor should they solve every problem. There are other companies that can excel in a solution that your company may not. Enter…TEAMING.

At its foundation, teaming is a win for the government and therefore, the taxpayer, if done correctly (yup, that’s a big caveat). Teaming allows the best people to solve the problems. Teaming allows for different perspectives and different skill sets and for the utilization of small businesses. When done correctly, it provides a faster solution than what the original bidder may have suggested. It may also solve the problem at a cheaper price to the government, which we know is a major bonus.

So, why are companies sometimes reluctant to team? One reason is that it’s always good to be prime. Primes control the relationship with the customer.  Primes control the administration of the contract and sometimes, primes control the rates. Control always feels good. Except that the prime company may end up being more profitable if they utilized a sub that was faster or used less expensive staff.  Your company may not be able to hit the target delivery dates from the customer without adding the additional gas that is a robust team.

Another reluctance is a lack of knowledge about who is out there in the space with the capabilities you need. Luckily, that’s easily solved with a quick email to govmates (just ask us – happy to connect you!).

Where I think teaming gets a bad name is if you view it as only fulfilling a contractual obligation. It feels dirty when we talk about “I’ll give you 49% of the work.” Or if you are only hitting checkboxes to hit compliance on your subcontracting plan.

Think of teaming as enhancing your win probability, enhancing your past performance, enhancing your companies’ capabilities and further, setting your company up for long term mutually beneficial relationships. Work with people you trust and that have similar approaches to pricing and will put in the work.

For those that refuse to team, wanting only to prime, I’ve always said – “ain’t too proud to cash a check.” Who cares if you are subbing? You are paying your folks, solving problems and gaining valuable past performance. You have a higher p-win with a team approach most of the time. Not to mention, a percentage of something is a heck of a lot better than 100% of nothing.

So, ego aside, teaming is the approach to take if you’re looking to build past performance and healthy business relationships. Just be sure to come through with your contracted obligations. They say “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and it surely wasn’t built by only one person. We have our own “Rome” here in industry. Team together, work together, grow together. Teaming is the name of the GovCon game.

Looking for a partner or capabilities to round out your team? Reach out to us at govmates – we are happy to help.