Although Zero/Six finished 2022 strong, it seems like we spent most of the year chasing a backlog that was absolutely not on schedule and new projects were not firing off when they were advertised too. Adjusting expenses was not an option because new work was on the horizon and contracts were signed; it was essentially birds in hand that had not yet laid eggs (still needed to feed the birds).
It was absolutely a year that tested the managerial skills of a company whose leadership (namely me) consists more of technically trained talent than business trained talent. When the backlog queues as scheduled, Zero/Six is a relatively easy business to operate. When the backlog does not queue on schedule, well that’s when we must start doing what the football world calls “audibles”; and last year it seems like we were calling them regularly.
By the 4th quarter, not only had we caught up with the backlog, but we had also put a couple of big fish in the boat that we were not trolling for (insert a line about a blind squirrel finding a nut here), and we were able to revert back to our usual business plan…and once again, we are looking for more technical talent. Send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What we learned from 2022 is that our business plan is solid (we actually may be better business people than we thought we were). We run a lean and technically diverse operation at Zero/Six. When things get tight, we don’t have to trim the fat (you cannot trim what is not there), and we can use the diversity of our staff to cross-pollinate across our silos of expertise. Beyond the generalities of commissioning and program management, Zero/Six has the ability to dive deep into four silos of expertise (forensics, peer reviews, QA/QC, and testing), and our staff is cross-trained in multiple silos of our expertise. When work is light in one silo, we can shift talent to another one. At times, we have had to use overqualified staff in roles where we cannot bill their full rate, but it keeps the train rolling and reinforces the cross-training philosophy further. What is really cool is when team members step up and perform in excess of their perceived talents. We saw a lot of this in 2022, and as a result, the talent (and leadership) pool at Zero/Six is healthier than ever.
True enough, calm seas may not make seasoned sailors, but rough seas bring focus to captains…and captains need ships. I have said many times that Zero/Six is exactly what I want Zero/Six to be, but Zero/Six is way beyond just me now, and we need more ships.
So don’t be surprised to see Zero/Six become “more” in 2023; more regions, more talent, and more services, all while maintaining the Z6 culture. The crew has earned it. Let’s sail.
Happy 2023 folks.