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“It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it…

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In Proposals

To quote the doyens of 80’s pop. There’s a lot of truth in the statement, particularly when it comes to transformational change.

Most companies aspire to improving win rates. Many of them invest thousands of their hard earned profits in trying to attain that nirvana yet very few of them actually achieve it on an enduring basis.


Very often it’s not due to the ‘what’ – companies spend a lot of time coming up with worthy and credible strategies – more often it’s down to the ‘way that they do it’.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling explores the common traits of successful transformation programmes. All are concerned with the how, not the what.

How can we apply the 4 principles to the bidding environment?

  1. Focus on wildly important goals (WIGs) – recognise that the ‘urgent’ will always trump the ‘important’, so no matter how important the new way of doing things, the day job will always get in the way. Pick a small number of bidding capability improvements to really concentrate on rather than trying to boil the ocean. Then…
  2. Develop a set of lead measuresthat the bid team can influence and are predictors of performance. For example, Win Rates are a standard way of measuring success. But, Win Rates are a lag measure and as such is of little use in helping to predict the successful outcome of an individual bid.
  3. Use a scoreboardto show how you are doing against your lead measures. In bidding terms this may mean a visible programme plan that all team members have access to and against which…
  4. Team members are held accountablein a regular drumbeat of progress meetings. Not the long drawn out sort where people are invited to waffle on about what they are doing. Rather, short, focused sessions where members say how they have achieved this week’s WIG, what’s stopping achievement of targets and how they will achieve next week’s target.

The challenge for bidding professionals, is how to tailor these principles of execution into change programmes that support, rather than derail, the pressurised day job of getting proposals out of the door.

...and that’s what gets results”.

Bid management and rock and roll – whatever next!

Image sourced from The Guardian

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