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  1. Its been my experience that most Federal government buyers/contracting BAFO negotiations that include change management are not successful. Even if those services are “embeded” in the array of services being offered in the technical/management proposal and a breakout would show its only a single digit percentage of the overall price/effort. Managing change is not viewed as value added in what is primarily a lowest price procurement culture by contract negotiators. Even when the stats from private and public research into failures of large scale organizational improvement initiatives due to poor change management are clearly articulated in the technical or executive summaries, bidders have been has been to remove that service in BAFO revisions. Often the government organization’s position is that it is capable of performing that service themselves. The Feds record of success in this matter is not good and is the exception rather than the rule. Even if the top executives are committed to an aggressive and far reaching change effort, it has been difficult to penetrate below the middle layer of managers and the rank and file become disillusioned due to poor communication, unfulfilled promises, and lack of funding for grassroots level tactical actions.

    • Cleve,
      Thanks for the response! Your comments are spot on. Like you, my experience has been that Organizational Change Management services have been under-valued as a result of BAFO negotiations. It’s also true that many agencies and private sector organizations take a position of performing the OCM services themselves, only to learn later that they don’t have the existing internal capabilities or resources to effectively do so.

      This is where a formalized strategy and plan to develop in-house “embedded” OCM capabilities can come into play. Under a different contracting and funding model, I’ve assisted private sector and higher education clients develop in-house OCM capabilities and who are now successfully leading organizational change at the leadership level and middle layer of management, utilizing skilled and prepared in-house resources (e.g. change agents). Examples of programs that can be led in-house range from a simple employee training event to a complex HR/talent system modernization.

      Developing resilience and managing change can seem daunting to an organization undergoing a major transformation, and there are certainly more examples of program failure than success, often blamed on poor execution of change management. It comes as no surprise that building organizational resilience and managing change within Federal agencies is further complicated by current Federal contracting laws and a culture of risk aversion. But having experienced firsthand that building organizational resilience can be achieved, I’m now a true believer in the value of teaching organizations how to do it themselves so that when they take the position of “performing that service themselves,” can legitimately do so.

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