Musings

Bid team ‘inflammation’ and how to fix it?

By February 6, 2020No Comments

I am lucky enough to have worked in and around a lot of the bid teams over the years. One thing I have seen over & over again is a degree of ‘inflammation’ between the core and the wider teams. Let me explain what I mean …

By the core team, I am referring to the set up in typically larger organisations where there is a team of professionals whose ‘day job’ is to support the wider business and prepare bids, proposals and presentations.

For these people, putting together the strongest bid is their number one objective and how they measure success.

The wider team includes those for whom bidding is not the day job, but whose input is needed to get those winning bids together.

They may be subject matter experts, sales professionals or senior managers or sponsors and, of course, their view of success may be entirely different.

Many in this group have extreme workloads and often don’t prioritise that drive for the best possible bid. Until it’s too late.

This misalignment is of course the cause of ‘inflammation’ at the interface between the two parts of the team. It manifests itself as last minute re-writes, missing or eleventh-hour deliverables, moaning, late nights, inefficiency and frustration.

Sound familiar?

This well-known phenomenon seems to be as prevalent as it is tricky to solve. Here’s a few things I have tried over the years that have helped:

  • Map out your team: it seems obvious, but it helps to work out who needs to be involved and to work out what they need to do and when. Flush out the enthusiastic but unrealistic ones that want to help, but won’t be able due to other commitments. Make sure everyone can be ‘in’ the team and be realistic – find replacements where necessary. If you can’t resource properly, consider no bidding.
  • Understand your people: work out the different personality types and how that affects their world and yours. There are many profiling tools around and an entire industry of professionals in that space to help. But at least being aware and accommodating the personalities involved is a step forward.
  • Get aligned: far too many organisations I work with don’t have a strategic plan for their bid teams. There is often a business plan, but this doesn’t always drill down to bid team level. Be clear on what types of work you are pursuing and stick to it. Set goals together. It is essential that this is tailored to the needs and motivators of all members of your team. Revisit your plan regularly and adjust it as needed.
  • Establish values: this is the key step. Decide what is important – no all-nighters? Starting and finishing meetings on time? Be respectful of everyone’s role on the team? And then commit as a group to live these values.
  • Hold each other to account: as a group build a culture that is comfortable calling each other out when behaviours go awry.
  • Reflect and reward: find ways to reinforce good behaviours. It is important to pause sometimes and reflect on what has been achieved and reward where needed.

If this sounds all too familiar and you want to do something about it, click here:

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