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.
Fundamentally it’s about people and preparation. Team GB has a strategy and detailed plans for each sport and for each athlete. These were set out years ago. Since then they have meticulously set about identifying the right people as both athletes and coaches (based on potential and experience). They have targeted marginal improvements across every facet of their sport, so that they can perform at the highest levels when it matters.
All of the above required investment: in money and in commitment from athletes and coaches across an extended period. Success ‘on the day’ is often four years in the making.
The winning edge doesn’t develop during the event - nor even in the immediate run up. Similarly, you can’t hope to become the best bid team you can be in the short time period between receiving an RFQ and the submission date. Your capabilities and your confidence have to be things that you work on constantly so you can perform consistently when you need to.
Success also requires self-belief from the athletes in their ability to perform at the highest levels and to win. The athletes trust that their coaches are providing the best advice and guidance to lead to ultimate victory. Yes, finding the right coach can make all the difference!
From 36th to 2nd in the medal table is a spectacular achievement. Money has been invested to perpetuate this, to drive further continual improvement and to attract more talent and encourage greater participation.
The competition (particularly in sports like cycling) now believe that GB athletes are the best - so they start at a psychological disadvantage.
If you want your bid team to enjoy similar superiority here are some tips:
Find and develop the best talent for each role in the bidding process - the skills needed are highly diverse.
Work on improving skills - such as presentation design and delivery or bid writing - continuously.
Find the right coach who will identify where and how you need to improve.
Plan ahead: when are crucial bidding opportunities (including rebidding for existing contracts) likely to occur? Start the build up now!
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.