Core competencies

Everyone is good at something. My momma said so.

The same is true of organizations because they're made up of people (and typically like-minded ones at that). The challenge is knowing precisely what your organization is good at, what it should it be good at and then having the discipline to focus on only that and the faith to rely on others for the rest.

My clients continually struggle to patch together solutions aimed at resolving the distance they've put between what they're good at and what they're currently doing. Know any facilities guys doing IT or drill operators writing press releases?  I do.

How'd they get there? 

Well, I see government agencies and programs-- though they hate to admit it-- behaving just like businesses. They feel compelled to grow. After being established for a specific mission or task, it doesn't take long to observe the scope creep that leads to requests for more staff, more money, or more control. To get the ball rolling, they repurpose existing technical staff.

The solution is leading an organization-wide effort to reconnect with the core competencies and having the courage to shed everything else. I think leaders are reluctant to even consider outsourcing services they've started to incubate internally because they fear losing control. 

What they often fail to realize is that they might give up some control as the one-stop shop provider but then gain it back as a consumer. Reestablishing organizational core competencies can be awkward and bumpy at first but steadily improves as new partners are brought online and staff have the gift of focus.