This is a two-part first-person post on government entrepreneurship on the international stage
This is Part 2 of a two-part post. The first post focused on laying the groundwork for an enduring partnership. This post focuses on the tactical elements of the partnership.
Coming up with a plan
Walter and I brainstormed throughout that dinner, finally realizing that we needed to establish a platform for international technical cooperation in the area of on-site analysis for it to be viewed as even possible. By the end of dinner, Walter was either sure that the US sampling and analysis capability would never work or that at the very least, we needed to assess the validity of our processes by participating in an international field trial where we would assemble a team of scientists and engineers, equipment, and absolutely everything we needed to transport and perform on-site analysis in another country.
We even named our plan, it was to be the “International Verification Laboratory Equipment Shipping Field Trail.” We (the US) would be given unknown chemical warfare samples to analyze on-site and our counterparts (the Swiss government) working in a fixed site laboratory, would be given splits of the same samples. Now all we needed to do was analyze the samples in the same time as the host lab and report the results, correctly.
Succeeding in a risk-averse environment
When I presented the details of our little dinner conversation to my leadership it was not well received. It was deemed risky—this is when our work really got underway. We proceeded to organize a formal risk assessment, followed by multiple briefings to our leaderships, their leadership and any believer or funding agency we could find.
Our dinner conversation and the hard work that followed not only led to the first but several international field trials supporting the ratification, and eventual implementation of the CWC. The impact of this one dinner, directly led to the development of workable modular and mobile analytical laboratories that enabled the United States to develop its doctrine of on-site analysis, implement the condition that no sample would leave the country, and sign the CWC while protecting the U.S. trade secrets and global economic security!
Seizing the day
As I reflect on my government career, I clearly see a pattern of opportunities that shaped my business successes. Be on the lookout for circumstances that allow you to tell your story, even if you don’t get the answer it could lead to finding an actionable first step.