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United States Department of Agriculture


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United States Department of Agriculture

  1. 1. USDA Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting Mentoring Opportunities August 2008 Attachments
  2. 2. <ul><li>According to the FAC-C guidance dated 1/20/06, mentoring is one of the many ways to accumulate continuous learning points (CLPs). </li></ul><ul><li>USDA is strengthening the acquisition workforce by encouraging the use of mentoring . </li></ul>FAC-C Training
  3. 3. Mentoring Defined <ul><li>Mentoring is when a role model, supervisor, or colleague serves as a counselor or teacher to another in order to relay knowledge and experience in a particular area of expertise. </li></ul><ul><li>Mentor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A person who shares contracting experience, knowledge, and wisdom with a protégé </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides guidance, recommendations and coaching through the mentoring process </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Protégé </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A person who receives support, advice and knowledge from an experienced Contracting Specialist to improve his/her acquisition competencies </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Mentors Should Have… <ul><li>Confidence </li></ul><ul><li>A minimum of 1-2 hours to devote to a mentoring session </li></ul><ul><li>Patience </li></ul><ul><li>A positive, professional attitude </li></ul><ul><li>Good communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>Experience in Government contracting </li></ul><ul><li>A sincere interest in another’s growth </li></ul>
  5. 5. Protégés Should Have… <ul><li>A minimum of 1-2 hours to devote to a mentoring session </li></ul><ul><li>A sincere interest in acquiring and expanding his/her knowledge in Government contracting </li></ul><ul><li>A positive, professional attitude </li></ul><ul><li>Good listening skills </li></ul><ul><li>An open mind </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why Choose Mentoring? <ul><li>Contributes directly to the success and improvement of the USDA Acquisition Workforce </li></ul><ul><li>Equates to one Continuous Learning Point (CLP) for every hour of participation up to 20 CLPs per year for both mentors and protégés </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes career development within USDA </li></ul><ul><li>Enhances participants’ resumes </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a truly rewarding experience for both parties </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes professional growth through feedback </li></ul>
  7. 7. Suggested Mentoring Process <ul><li>Obtain approval from your supervisor or training manager. </li></ul><ul><li>Agree on the terms with your mentor or protégé </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decide on the number of hours for each mentoring session (e.g., single incident, daily, weekly, monthly) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify the skills to build or improve during the sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine the objectives of each session </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify what you would like to gain from the experience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus on in-person mentoring opportunities, but long-distance is acceptable (e.g., teleconference, video conference) </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain a log of mentoring activities to include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dates and number of hours spent for each mentoring activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A brief description of the activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The names of the mentor and protégé involved with each activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upon successful completion of your activity, document training in ACMIS </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Mentoring to Improve Acquisition Competencies <ul><li>Consider mentoring opportunities with other Contracting Specialists to improve your acquisition competencies focusing on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Effective Negotiation- See Exhibit 1 for a description of suggested mentoring activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effective Performance Management and the Use of Performance Metrics – See Exhibit 2 for a description of suggested mentoring activities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mid to senior-level specialists should seek opportunities to practice negotiating and administering high-dollar value or high-profile contracts </li></ul><ul><li>Seek opportunities either within or outside your agency </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on certain acquisition competencies by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrating certain skills to your protégé or, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Observing those skills being performed by your mentor </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Effective Negotiation Skills <ul><li>Demonstrate or observe these skills during the mentoring sessions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coaching the Government team to obtain best value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Controlling a meeting to resolve complex issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Applying negotiation tactics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making sound business decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Handling difficult people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiating tradeoffs for both the vendor and Government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintaining a positive outlook and displaying a professional image </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calmly and effectively dealing with high stress situations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Being open to new information during the negotiation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thinking outside the box </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintaining honesty and integrity of the acquisition process </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Effective Performance Management Skills <ul><li>Demonstrate or observe these skills during the mentoring sessions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obtaining feedback from the COR/COTR on contractor performance or deliverables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Verifying and documenting evidence of performance problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluating the legal considerations of a performance problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determining potential impacts of any problems on cost, schedule, and other requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolving problems informally and formally depending on your assessment of the situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessing the reasons and benefits of invoking formal contract remedies like Stop Work Orders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Investigating potential or actual delays </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thoroughly documenting the contract file with monitoring activities, evidence of problems, and actions taken to resolve problems </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>“ I would suggest finding any way possible to watch, learn, and be involved; make the effort to develop mentoring relationships whenever possible.” </li></ul><ul><li>Randy West </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” </li></ul><ul><li>John C. Crosby </li></ul>Choose Mentoring