Q&A | It’s been a little over a year since Lee Carrick assumed the ranks as president of Perot Systems Government Services. In that short amount of time, Carrick has built a leadership team with a strong collaborative spirit. The proof is in the numbers. Carrick’s unit picked up $300 million in re-competes this past year — that’s 18 percent growth. This year is looking just as promising. With roughly 3,400 team leaders and associates spread across almost every state in the union, his team has already won almost every one of its re-competes, as well as positions on two new contract vehicles. Recently, Carrick spoke with Executivebiz about the secrets to a delivery that continues to generate high award fees and strong assessment reviews.
ExecutiveBiz: What markets have you found to be the “right places”?
Lee Carrick: Market-wise, we are focused on what we do well: IT enterprise solutions, business process support, financial analysis, and engineering. We have a large delivery capability on the civilian side: healthcare, NASA, and education. [We] can bring the IT that we do in the healthcare market on the commercial side into the public sector. We are solid in defense, Army and Navy, specifically. Our intelligence team has been growing and we have a large number of opportunities in our homeland security group.
ExecutiveBiz: Any thoughts on the push toward competitive insourcing?
Lee Carrick: We are going to support and follow the government’s lead on this. I believe the government is looking for efficiencies; they are looking to outsource where it makes sense for their mission needs. We are still seeing the government consolidate IT work, and are ready to support them. We are looking at a number of ways to help them and deliver the best solutions that we can to our customers.
ExecutiveBiz: What helps you maximize value to customers?
Lee Carrick: The key thing to remember is this: You have to keep re-winning a client’s trust — every day. We have an internal quality system that ensures that. We have a formal checklist, where we survey our clients from an independent source. We also have regular meetings with delivery level and senior level clients. I make personal visits to clients and we get immediate feedback that way, too. We also look into trends across our company — where Perot Systems is, what the technologies are, the offerings — and leverage what we are seeing in healthcare, what we are seeing in commercial. These are things that we can potentially bring to the government side so there is a consistent quality loop.
ExecutiveBiz: What has surprised you most since coming on board as president of government services?
Lee Carrick: I’ve been pleasantly surprised how well we work together within our team — the open communication — and how well the company as a whole collaborates. You think you are going to have the honeymoon for three to four months and then find out what the company is really like. From day one, though, Perot Systems has operated consistently, with high values, a keen focus on our clients and support of our associates from both a leadership and cultural level.
ExecutiveBiz: The first year for any executive can be challenging. What books have helped you stay focused?
Lee Carrick: If I had to name one, Good to Great would top the list. The book speaks to the importance of continuous improvement, as well as building the right team, setting goals, and holding people accountable.
ExecutiveBiz: Looking ahead, what do you plan to accomplish next?
Lee Carrick: First, to bring more technology, offerings, and capabilities to our current clients. That will involve more cross selling into the federal market. Second, to support mobility, as well as personal and professional growth. We want this to continue to be a great place for our associates. We’ve rolled out programs — Career Mobility and Career Progression are two that come to mind — to attract and retain the best talent in all our segments. The third goal is to continue to increase our business growth. It’s important to keep a balance of the three. When your strongest asset — your team — is happy, you’re more likely to be successful in your business pursuits.