Government Contracting: A Matter of Trust

I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot lately. Trust is important in every aspect of our lives – we need, and often do, implicitly trust our spouses/significant others, our friends and our family. Without trust, we simply cannot function.

Trust is an essential element in any successful relationship. It is no different in business.

Unfortunately, in government contracting – trust can be hard to achieve.

The very nature of the Federal Acquisition Regulation environment implies distrust. It can appear that the Government’s premise is one of Fear First, Trust Later. This is very different from the ‘Trust But Verify’ epitome that President Reagan used during ‘Perestroika’ with the USSR. Of course, that situation was born out of a competition between relative equals.

Industry and the Government are not relative equals. Their relationship is more akin to a modified version of the Golden Rule: The Government has the Gold, it makes the Rules, and doesn’t Trust Industry to follow them. So it continually modifies the FAR to impose ever increasing restrictions and penalties on Industry.

How does one attain trust with the Government?

Simply put – patience and performance over time. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver, support your claims with evidence, keep the promises you make, stay in frequent communication with your key Government influencers, and most of all – be highly responsive when they contact you with a question, concern or issue.

One final thought – choose your employees and teaming partners well. One poor choice in either category can tarnish your reputation for years to come.

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