Recognize Your People

Incentives, awards, and other forms of recognition contribute to shape a culture. Public recognition may be for individual achievement or for an entire team; rewards can be formal or informal, for general contributions or specific accomplishments. Each of these approaches  create incentives for team members to maintain high levels of performance, and attract additional support from others. 

Leaders who seek to encourage and reward acceleration have several options, including:

  • Nominating their programs for an existing award (see below for examples).
  • Informing their team that such awards exist (see US Army announcement, for example).
  • Creating a specific award within their organization (could be as simple as a certificate of recognition).

In Mar 2019, the Navy established the Navy Agility and Accountability Awards Program which include awards for:

  • Agile Acquisition
  • Agile Technology
  • Agile Policy Reform
  • Data-Driven Agility
  • Agile Warfighting
  • Agile Leadership
  • Agile Authorship

The Flexibility in Contracting Award recognizes acquisition programs and professionals who make best use of existing flexibilities and authorities. It is sponsored by the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, and was presented for the first time in Feb 2019. The specific language establishing this award comes from the FY17 NDAA (Sec 834) states:

The Secretary of Defense shall create an award to recognize those acquisition programs and professionals that make the best use of the flexibilities and authorities granted by the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Department of Defense Instruction 5000.02 (Operation of the Defense Acquisition System). The award… shall recognize outstanding performers whose approach to program management emphasizes innovation and local adaptation, including the use of:

  1. simplified acquisition procedures;
  2. inherent flexibilities within the Federal Acquisition Regulation;
  3. commercial contracting approaches;
  4. public-private partnership agreements and practices;
  5. cost-sharing arrangements;
  6. innovative contractor incentive practices; and
  7. other innovative implementations of acquisition flexibilities.

Dr. Will Roper, Air Force Acquisition Executive presented a Tailored “5000” Award to Space and Missile System Center’s Space Command and Control team in March 2019. The Tailored “5000” Award that recognizes a program office or team who excel at using different processes to increase the speed of acquisition. The team was evaluated on how much they took advantage of modifying options in specific ways to enhance the flow of a program strategy from start to finish. Through the team’s efforts, the program now operates under more streamlined guidelines and reporting requirements. Dr. Roper stated in his remarks during the award ceremony that he is very proud of the workforce who are taking the risks in revamping the way things are done, which cuts through the bureaucracy of the past.

“I wanted to have an award for our 5000 programs that are going back through, challenging their acquisition strategy and stealing time for our warfighters. The fear of failure was not greater than the need to go fast and try things. For those of you who have ‘Tailored 5000’ your programs, thank you and keep doing it,” said Roper.

The team received a certificate and a small plaque that has a spent .50 caliber round canister mounted on its front to signify the importance of “taking the shot.” The award is granted to teams that exemplified the meaning and spirit of rapid acquisition – a model in which SMC has adopted as the new and improved framework for space acquisitions. 

Source: Hacking the 5000 – Lina Satele

Actions You Can Take
  • Use existing awards to recognize individual or team contributions to acceleration.
  • Create new awards to recognize contributions to acceleration.
  • Create informal recognition program to provide immediate recognition.
  • Set acceleration-related goals and establish metrics to track and reward progress.
  • Contact an Accelerator SME for support.
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