Business workers putting their hands in for a huddle

I have the privilege of working with bid teams and consortiums to win large collaborative projects.  It’s an exciting space to work in and one that requires absolute focus to guide a team to the ultimate prize of winning a large project.  Due to the enormous investment of time, energy and dollars required in the pursuit of larger projects if you are going to bid you should bid to win!

So what separates winning teams and bids from second place?  From my experience it’s the incremental improvement focussed on the right things over time that leads to staggering results! It’s what I call the ‘one percenters’ that leads to success…

 Here’s a list of key attributes that will shift your focus from participating to winning:

Plan for high performance – Create a plan upfront that identifies exactly what is needed to deliver high performance.  A good high performance plan provides a road map to success. It is signed off and endorsed by the leadership team and bidding organisations with funding and time committed to delivering it.

Unite the people – The great teams I have worked with invest time early on in becoming a united team and aligning with partners.  Team building should start early in the process, even prior to the client tender requirements being released.

Know that ‘Trust = Speed’ – The earlier a team is aligned, the quicker they can achieve results. A lack of trust = time wasted, lack of focus on what’s important to win,  mistakes made and money lost! Invest heavily in building trust by having regular open and honest conversations.

Get clear on the ‘why’ – Bids need a compelling charter that will engage the minds, and the hearts of a team. I am shocked by how many bids track along without clear understanding and documentation of what the client aims to achieve and what the project objectives are.  Know your client and project objectives.

Identify the; who, what, when and how – Role clarity is critical.  If you cannot articulate or explain how you are going to get results and who is responsible for what on the bid submission, you will not engage the wider team.  Specific organisation charts, programmes, milestones and key deliverables are all critical in the bid submission to provide focus to the team.

Balance and lead tasks and people – Whilst it sounds obvious the challenge is ensuring that leaders understand and actively deliver on both.  There is no point delivering a great technical solution if the client is not convinced they can work with your people.  The counter is also true.

Brain tattoo team behaviours – Being clear on expectations around behaviour drives high performance.  Preferred behaviours must be identified, understood and owned by the team. Make them visible at the project office as a reminder. It is up to the individuals as well as the leaders to hold people accountable to what has been agreed upon. When a team lives and breathes their desired behaviours they gather momentum, this momentum means it is less likely that consortium members will act independently and make excuses and justifications based on previous experiences and past conditioning.

Team health and coaching – Successful bid teams track their health in an evidence based manner that highlights gaps and identifies actions to respond.  Ongoing coaching drives the right behaviours and ensures the leadership team are role modelling that behaviour. An interesting fact – 80% of team culture stems from leader’s behaviour!

Bid strategy and submission framework – Client interactions should be well prepared for, bid submission writing plans are managed in a proactive manner, winning strategies are understood by all… and there is a focus on the key messages!! It sounds obvious, however the amount of submissions left to the last minute or not well defined in terms of key messages is high.

So what separates a winning team and bid from a close second?  Put simply… don’t leave things to chance!!

Come to our ‘Right Start’ Breakfasts series on August 26th. Please click the link below to find out more.

Bidding to win rather than Participating – Strategies and Techniques to increase your bid success rates.