I recently finished the book Wolfpack by Abby Wambach. This book provides empowerment tools for women who want to succeed professionally and personally. Although the book is tailored to women in leadership, I found the three main takeaways to be surprisingly applicable to many aspects of the government contracting industry. Not only is it relevant to me, but I also found it pertinent to our clients as well.
My first takeaway - How are your losses fueling your next win?
In Wolfpack, Wambach talks about not letting the fear of failure get to you. We see this in the aptitude of our clients. In the words of JetCo Solutions’ staff, “our clients are tenacious, determined, and ready. They don’t let a contract loss get to them. Instead, they see it as an opportunity for feedback. This feedback leads to improvement within the company and helps them come back stronger to win the next contract.”
Don’t let the fear of failure paralyze you. Let it fuel you. Success as a government contractor relies on feedback and resolve in our failures to improve our future win efforts.
My second takeaway - Don’t minimize your talent to share the field with others.
In Wolfpack, Wombach talks about not downplaying your ability to “share the field” with others as it limits the powerful impact you can make.
How does this apply to government contractors? There might be a variety of companies that provide similar services and are trying to sell to the government. In order to set yourself apart, focus on your differentiators (what makes you unique), and as Wambach says, “own your greatness unapologetically.” Your differentiators are key in standing out as a government contractor.
My third and last takeaway - lead with full humanity and cultivate a team of leaders.
Strong leadership comes with vulnerability and connectivity. Strong leaders cultivate a team of strong leaders. Teamwork is the most important aspect in having a productive business. It’s important to invest in your team, government contractor or not. With a successful team, your business will thrive.
As a female leader in the workplace, I have a responsibility to help empower women. I encourage them to seek the same recognition and rewards as their colleagues receive for their efforts done in the workplace. Additionally, as a leader, I challenge men to build an environment that is supportive of their female counterpart’s values and to view efforts as equal to their own. As Abby Wambach writes, “collective power begins by unleashing the power of each individual.”
My belief is to support and advise my female counterparts to be empowered about the things they want, but also realize the things they deserve. In retrospect; ask for the things you want(wisely) and demand respect for the value you bring. It is important to not only say you’re great, but show why you’re great, and approach what you want with key pieces of support. If you want a raise, show how your contributions led to business success.
As a leader, I take great pride in the care of my employees and invest in their professional and personal development. I am honest, and I provide feedback openly and transparently. While this book was primarily about the influence women in leadership can have on other women, its principles and practices can be used to empower men to be influencers that encourage change as well.