Adversity is always a learning opportunity, so they say. In which case the recent blast of icy weather gave us plenty of chances to absorb some valuable lessons.
Comparisons also help us understand where we stand in relation to others. As a bid coach I also can’t help reflecting on parallels between how snowstorms affect the UK compared to other countries, and the performance of well and poorly prepared teams facing the challenges of a bid interview or behavioural assessment.
Let’s use Denmark as a comparison. Here they routinely deal with snowfall and temperatures on this level without loss of life, travel chaos, interruption to vital services and legions of stranded motorists. There are five key areas where their approach differs from the UK. These factors are highly relevant to the tender process.
To misquote a line from the Monty Python film ‘A Life of Brian’ “What have consultants and external resource providers ever done for us?”
I’ll answer that question with a story. Imagine you’ve been shortlisted to attend an interview by an important prospect. Time to bring your ‘A’ game. So you assemble a strong team. They all have experience of interviews, presentations, and question and answer sessions. They’ve had success in the past.
Just to make sure, you put up one of your most senior and experienced directors to demonstrate how important the contract is to you. They have the ‘clout’ and credibility to make an impression and talk about the strategic importance of the client and the contract.
However talented you are, ‘turning up on the day and doing your best’ is never a recipe for success.
It’s hard to imagine now but at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 the GB team won just one gold medal. Countries like The Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark finished comfortably above the British team in the medal table.
Even allowing for more rigorous drug testing and subsequent bans affecting some athletes, the progress to London 2012 and Rio 2016 has been astonishing and relentless.
Is it all down to money? Certainly the Lottery funding makes more things possible; but there’s much more to the success story than splashing the cash.
If your bid team aims to be a top performer there’s plenty you can learn from the Team GB approach.
I have many years of senior sales and account management positions.
This experience taught me how to interpret exactly what clients are seeking, and what they need and expect to see and hear from the successful bidder. We draw on this experience to give your team an additional competitive advantage by building on their existing strengths while improving their team-working and self-awareness.