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.
Had contingency plans. UK: No | DK: Yes
Had experience of similar weather. UK: Limited | DK: Yes
Understood the potential impact . UK: No | DK: Yes
Wrong behaviours. UK: Yes | DK: No
Expected others to ‘rescue’ them. UK: Yes | DK: No
How does this relate to the tender process?
The properly prepared team anticipates what is coming. They position themselves to ensure that adverse events don’t throw them off course. To the poorly prepared team “unforeseen” circumstances and other pressures are the reasons they can’t cope.
The poorly prepared team endures a stressful run-up to the event, with an increased risk of missing the deadline, missing the point, or just not performing well.
The well-prepared team learns lessons from past experience. If they don’t have direct experience they draft in somebody who has. They then know what to expect and can take things in their stride. They amend their plans to allow for changing circumstances, all the while remaining on target to achieve their goals.
Poorly prepared teams do things ‘on the hoof.’ They make too many assumptions and rely on wishful thinking and guesswork rather than knowledge and experience.
The well-prepared team is not fazed by the shocks of the disruption of an intense tender process. They have thought about it and planned for how the resources needed will be available. They see beyond the immediate issues (keeping their eye on the goal if you like) so their focus remains on the end goal, without them becoming distracted by the ‘noise’ of the short-term disruption.
Despite knowing that the circumstances have changed the unprepared team continues on blindly doing the same as before. No change of plan or behaviour despite knowing that things are different. When they get caught out by those changes it’s not their fault. They had every right to continue doing as they had before as if nothing untoward had happened: ‘I knew the road was blocked by a snowdrift but I needed to get to the shops and went anyway.’
Need Rescuing by Others
Unprepared teams (and people) need others to come in and rescue them. Quite often at risk / cost / inconvenience to themselves. The help needed might not be available immediately, there’s extra cost and inconvenience, and wasted time.
When it comes to snow, the UK might have a reasonable excuse that ‘we don’t expect that kind of weather here.’ The bid team has no such get out. You should know what you’re in for and be ready. Some will, some won't. Which are you?
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.