In today’s technologically fueled government contracting environment, innovation is a constant effort.
The most impactful innovation is driven not by the pressure to continue evolving, but by the identification of real problems the government is facing and the ability to solve those problems with the right technology, according to Brian Flood, founder and CEO of DecisionPoint.
In conversation with ExecutiveBiz, Flood shared that success is “not about the innovation that we put into an environment, it’s about the outcomes that we’re able to achieve by leveraging those innovations.” The DecisionPoint CEO also discussed his strategy for combating the persistent talent shortage, the core values that comprise the company’s culture and his plan for driving expansion in a competitive market.
Read below for Brian Flood’s full Executive Spotlight interview.
ExecutiveBiz: What are your strategic goals for the coming year? What do you hope to accomplish, and are there any new markets you’re keeping an eye on in the federal sector?
Brian Flood: “We want to expand our centers of excellence. The things that are core to our corporate DNA include the entire life cycle and portfolio of cloud services and primarily migrating environments and enterprises to a fully cloud operational environment.
We have a similar type of capability in cyber areas — internal threat, insider threat, threat hunting, offensive and defensive cyber operations. Then IT service management, which is end user support, application development and sustainment and anything in the IT service management and enablement space.
We really want to go deeper and broader in our centers of excellence, so we excel in these areas of focus. We want to expand the aperture so we can add to our ability to support mission critical requirements across the Department of Defense, various civilian agencies and even the intelligence community. We’ll build upon the excellence in our current centers of excellence and expand them into new capabilities that we can deliver to transform our customers’ ability to execute their mission.”
ExecutiveBiz: Company culture is really important, especially in today’s very competitive hiring environment. Can you talk about the core values that are essential to DecisionPoint? How has your team developed its ability to succeed in today’s competitive market?
Flood: “When I founded the company almost 12 years ago, I wanted to create an environment that I would’ve liked to have been a part of as an employee. I wanted to create an environment where people could learn, grow and fulfill both their professional and personal goals without having to change companies. To a great extent, we’ve done that.
The foundation of that was this notion that I wanted to work with people who had a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves, to serve a greater good. We want people with ambition, who have strong personal desires to make more money, be more productive, be more successful and contribute to the success of the company.
When we’re surrounded by people who care not only about their own professional advancement and success, but that of their peers, colleagues, superiors, subordinates, customers and communities, that’s where magical things happen. It becomes not just one plus one equals two, but one plus one equals four or five.
That’s the culture we’ve embedded at DecisionPoint. We’re not perfect, but I think for the most part, we have people who care about others, care about our customers’ mission and care about enabling others to do the best they can.
A company of our size has limited resources, and we are entirely interdependent upon each other for overall success. Because we’re tied so closely together, a culture of contribution, a team of servant leaders and a desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves is essential to the goals we’re trying to meet.”
ExecutiveBiz: Expanding on the workforce challenge, can you talk about how the hiring landscape has changed in recent years? What are you considering in your strategy to attract and retain talent?
Flood: “COVID changed our world, and it entirely changed how people view where work fits into their lives. There are reams of data that show people have realigned their priorities as it relates to how they’re going to live their lives, the impact that work is going to have on their life and the sacrifices they’re willing or no longer willing to make to fit their life into work. They want to fit work into their life.
I don’t believe we’re going back to some of the cultural realities that occurred pre-COVID. That’s being evidenced in how people move jobs, the decisions people make and their priorities in accepting jobs.
We have to be able to demonstrate to the labor force that we have a defined culture and an investment in their wellbeing, not just from a professional perspective through salary and benefits, but that we recognize they will have priorities outside of work that we will respect and support.
That’s how you attract, hire, train and retain in this vastly different labor market than the one that existed prior to March 2020 when COVID took over all of our lives.”
ExecutiveBiz: We often discuss innovation from the technical or capability side. What are some of the unique challenges that you’ve seen on the business side of innovation that haven’t been addressed or discussed enough?
Flood: “Technology innovation is almost infinite in our market. The challenge lies in understanding a customer’s mission sufficiently enough to know what innovations will drive enhancement and improvement, and what innovations will drive risk or drive discord.
Innovation for innovation’s sake has never been our goal. Our goal is further empowering our customers to execute their mission imperatives.
The calculus that we so often look at, certainly in the marketing of innovation, is that innovation as a whole is an enhancement. My view of it, as somebody who does not have a technical background, is that it’s not about the innovation that we put into an environment, it’s about the outcomes that we’re able to achieve by leveraging those innovations. If we’re not making a mission, a customer, a command, a bureau or an agency better at their job, the innovation has been a waste of time, effort and money.
The only way we, as government contractors, are going to know what innovations are of high value is to have such an intimate and integral understanding of the mission imperatives of our customer that we’re only bringing them innovation that will impact their mission performance. That’s a hard thing to do because you have to be completely in alignment with understanding how the customer views their mission and their priorities.”