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  1. Recently, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Air Force Contracting stated that you can take a random group of contracting folks and put them in a 'cool kids' organization (e.g., SOFWERX, Kessel Run) and the outcomes would be the same. This made me think about a few things. First, I revisited senior leaders, auditors, taxpayers, and most importantly -- warfigthers -- recurring call for improvements in the defense acquisition workforces's professionalism, competence, acumen, savvy, etc. If a random group of contracting personnel can generate the same outcomes as those in high-performing and innovative organizations, what is the secret and how can we get the same or similar results across the enterprise? When I look around and identify non-specialists (practitioners) from specialists (professionals) a few things stand out and the General's comments were generally true. Individuals and teams are shaped by selection, streaming and differentiated experience. These factors seem to have meaningful influence on whether someone is a practitioner or professional - the Matthew effect. Talent management, specifically professional development, in a fiscally constrained meritocracy is challenging, but perhaps the workforce's professionalism would benefit from wider reaching selections, streaming, and differentiated experiences. Perhaps the 'cool kid' organizations have things we should benchmark or model in our own organizations. One area we should examine is our primary training pipeline - DAU. DAU offerings should incorporate robust experiential learning opportunities geared towards professionals. Thoughts?
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