• Dominion Wins the SmartCEO Future 50 Award for 3rd Year in a Row

    The Dominion Consulting Team at the 2017 SmartCEO award ceremonyLast Thursday, ten of us braved snow squalls and howling winds to attend the (ironically Hawaiian-themed) 2017 SmartCEO Future 50 Awards Gala. Held at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, 2017 marks the third year in a row that Dominion Consulting has won. We all felt excited as the Future 50 award is a prestigious honor for a company of our size.

    The Future 50 awards are awarded to companies that “represent the future of the region’s economy and embody the entrepreneurial spirit critical for leadership and success”. Winners are chosen based on a three-year average of employee and revenue growth. Dominion winning three years in a row is a testament to the success we have had in recent years.

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  • Looking at Dominion’s Culture with a Fresh Perspective

    Brooke Cloud at her desk in Dominion HQBrooke Cloud joined Dominion Consulting a few months ago as a Senior Consultant supporting our USDA IV&V engagement. Brooke is an avid DC Sports Fan and traveler, with a goal of visiting at least one new city every year. When she isn’t validating the migration efforts of federal financial systems, she can be found honing her photography and interior design skills or spending time with her 64 cousins!

    Brooke recently took a few minutes out of her busy day to share what it is like to work at Dominion.

    What attracted you to working at Dominion?

    When I interviewed, I had a job offer on the table from a large company but I wanted to work somewhere that I could grow with. Smaller businesses tend to make that easier.

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  • Our ISO 9001:2015 Certification and Why It Is Important

    In January, Dominion Consulting began a quest to achieve ISO 9001:2015 compliance.  The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a multinational standardizing organization that has published over 21,000 international business standards. The ISO 9001 standard (last updated in 2015, hence the 9001:2015 designation) covers the requirements of developing and implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) within a business.

    Organizations that are ISO 9001 compliant can show tangible proof that their products and services are high quality. It also shows that the organization actively monitors those products and services to assure their quality remains high. I served as Dominion’s Quality Manager through this quest. I’m pleased to report that this past week we achieved ISO 9001:2015 compliance certification.

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  • A Great Morning at the 2016 Dominion Consulting Veteran’s Day 5K

    The Dominion Consulting team at the 2016 Veterans Day 5KIt was below freezing the Sunday morning of November 13. That didn’t stop over 600 runners, spectators, and volunteers from showing up for what turned out to be a successful 5K Walk and Run. While this year’s 5K was technically the first Dominion Consulting Veteran’s Day 5K, this is the third year in a row our company has helped put on this race. This year’s event was just as successful as the previous two events. More than just the total number of participants that showed up, I personally am most proud of the number of Dominion employees who made it out to Fairfax Corner in Fairfax, VA on Sunday before the sun had completely risen to help ensure the event was a success.

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  • Learning to Lead with Agile at the ACT-IAC Executive Leadership Conference

    The Governor's Palace gives Williamsburg some gravitas to blend with its charm

    I recently had the privilege of attending the American Council for Technology – Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) 2016 Executive Leadership Conference (ELC) in Williamsburg, VA. The ELC is year-after-year known as the premiere executive level event for the leaders of our community. This year companies and agencies could nominate Emerging Leaders to attend alongside the C-Suite leaders. I was lucky enough to have been nominated and selected under that designation. I decided to make the most of my time in Williamsburg, both through networking and learning, and also tried to have a little fun in the process.

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  • Announcing the Dominion Consulting Veteran’s Day 5K

    The Dominion Consulting Veteran's Day 5KFall is here and that means it is time to prepare for the annual Dominion Consulting Veteran’s Day 5K and 1K Fun Run on Sunday, November 13 in Fairfax, VA. This is the third year in a row we have partnered with Potomac River Running in organizing this event. Once again, the race will benefit Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB). An amazing organization, Team RWB supports veterans as they transition from the military back to their families, communities, and lives through sharing social interactions and sharing experiences.

    Veteran’s Day is a day to honor America’s heroes, all US service men and women, past and present, who help keep our country safe and free. That makes Team RWB’s work so important. With a mission to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. This mission makes supporting Team RWB through the Veteran’s Day 5K one of our premiere community outreach events each year.

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  • #HowToCompete – Know Your Customer!

    Do you know your customer?

    I mean, do you really know your customer?

    You know who your customer is, you hopefully know the mission that they serve, and you might even know that the head of their company likes to play tennis every weekend. But, and I’ll ask again, do you actually know your customer? As a newly large company, your efforts to grow engagements organically as the Prime contractor, getting to really know your customer, and understand their stories, is of utmost importance.

    Every customer has a story, and more specifically, every program has a story. The story is likely more in depth than “we need project management support on an upgrade of a financial management system.” Sure, that may be a part of the story, but it is not the entire story. Why does your customer want to upgrade their financial management system? Why does this matter, and how can we use it to our advantage?

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  • #HowToCompete through Collaboration

    As your company has grown, do you find yourself having a harder time connecting with your employees? As our number of employees, clients, and worksites has increased, so has our need to find new and innovative ways to collaborate. At IBC, 65% of our Executive Leadership is not in the office on a normal workday. When you factor in our full extended management team that also work offsite on a daily basis, that number increases to 90%. One can only imagine how difficult it must be to hold basic status, planning, and strategy meetings while achieving a high active participation level. As we have begun to mature, new ways to drive collaboration have developed:

    1. Be Flexible With Expectations

    These days it is unrealistic to have all employees working in one location on a strict ‘9 to 5’ schedule. When you factor in additional client obligations, finding times for groups of employees to meet can be extremely difficult. Flexibility is key to overcoming this challenge. For example, instead of always having your meetings at the same location, try rotating locations closer to large employee clusters to make things easier for those coming from client site. This past week, in an effort to increase attendance, IBC held a company All-Hands Meeting away from our normal meeting location, but closer to where a number of employees are located; it worked! It was our most widely attending all-hands meeting in the past two years. Accept the reality that in today’s dynamic work environment, you will not always be able to meet face-to-face. In addition to this, there are tools that have proven to be more effective in collaboration than the old “tried and true” techniques of ten years ago. Online collaboration tools and techniques can and should be used to your advantage!

    1. Use What Works For Your Company

    It is safe to say that the days of only collaborating remotely through phone and email communications are long gone. Growing companies need to be able to strategize, respond, and react in real-time, no matter where their employees are located. Play to your employees strengths. “You’ll get the greatest payoff from online collaboration if you make use of an eclectic range of collaboration tools that support a diversity of working and communication styles,” wrote Alexandra Samuel in Harvard Business Review.[1] At IBC, we use Evernote to share notes and ideas, allowing our employees to build off of each other’s thoughts that come out of brainstorming sessions and comment virtually. For internal communications, we leverage Yammer when broadcasting information quickly and in real time, to ensure that no one is left out of the loop. This also allows us to host this information in a searchable format rather than in someone’s overloaded inbox so it can quickly be found. And while we do still use traditional conference calls on a daily basis, when appropriate we turn on the webcam for a more personable videoconference call. These methods work for us, but that doesn’t mean they will always work for us, so we are constantly looking forward to the next idea. But, as Microsoft states in their Whitepaper Accelerating Team Collaboration with Social, “the key is to use the right set of social technologies that support open communication and seamless collaboration”.[2] Find what tools work for your employees and allow your company to be flexible in those tools to continue effective communication amongst your staff.

    Closing Thoughts

    Collaborating becomes harder and harder the larger and more widespread your company is. As an emerging business, you need to be flexible to accommodate those within your organization, and utilize the tools and techniques that work to help facilitate collaboration. IBC understands that adapting to the changing environment is key, both for our organization and our employees, and by doing so, our collaborative efforts have never been stronger.

    These are some of our techniques on #HowToCompete using new forms of collaboration, what are yours?

    Join the #HowToCompete discussion:

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    [1] https://hbr.org/2015/04/collaborating-online-is-sometimes-better-than-face-to-face

    [2] http://az370354.vo.msecnd.net/socialhub/Accelerating_Team_Collaboration_with_Social.pdf

     

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  • #HowToCompete through Opportunity Identification

    How does your company identify opportunities to pursue? Dozens of solicitations are identified each week by our staff, but how do we decide which ones get sent to the recycling bin and which ones remain? As your company has grown, have you found your process has changed? Are you finding that opportunities that your Small Business would have been a shoe-in to win, are now long-shots for your Large Business? We at IBC deal with these issues on a seemingly daily basis.

    Given these issues, what can we do to increase our capture win-rate? Here are a couple areas that we are currently focusing on:

    Leverage Your Company’s Competitive Advantage

    Bill Carmody, CEO of Trepoint, says “by getting in touch with what makes [your company] unique and special, you can unleash your superpower and with it a virtually unlimited amount of untapped opportunity.”[1] In this case, your company’s superpower is your company’s competitive advantage and this shouldn’t change due to your company size. Although IBC may no longer be a “specialized” small business, focusing solely on a small number of solution areas, our main strengths remain. We still employ experienced Agile and Scrum experts. We still are one of the leading firms in providing SAP solutions to the Federal Government. These are two of IBC’s strengths, regardless of what our size is. The fact that our company has grown does not mean we should immediately start jumping into untouched waters, or focusing on areas where our stories are less compelling. Kevin Daum writes “a great opportunity can provide me growth, but it should not require me to change who I am at the core.”[2] Just because you are no longer a small business, don’t forget what enabled you to grow that small business into what it is today.

    Create Solicitation Response Criteria and Stick to it

    Does your company have specific solicitation criteria that must be met before you respond to a request? And if so, does your company make exceptions when RFPs are released that, while not meeting your set criteria, just seem like they would be a good fit for your company? If you are guilty of doing this from time-to-time (and we know we are), you are either spending time, hours, and money on a bid that likely has a lower win probability than other opportunities out there, or you need to rethink your criteria.

    Don’t only judge a request based on the solution you know you can provide. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about what they are looking for when they read through the deluge of responses that are sure to come in. At IBC, we look at the following criteria when deciding to bid or not:

    • Do we know the customer?
    • Do we have past performance to support our story?
    • Do we have the expertise to support our story?
    • Can we price to win and live with those financial impacts?

    Closing Thoughts

    Consistently identifying winning opportunities is difficult, but that by no means has deterred us from trying to increase our win-rate. By focusing on our competitive advantage and strengths, and sticking to our RFP response criteria, we at IBC hope to be able to do just that.

    These are some of our strategies on #HowToCompete through Opportunity Identification, what are yours?

    Join the #HowToCompete discussion:

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    [1] http://www.inc.com/bill-carmody/what-s-your-superpower.html

    [2] http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/5-ways-to-recognize-a-great-opportunity.html

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