Over my bidding and tendering career, I have been involved with some disasters. Some of them I have been able to recover from and a few have even resulted in the loss of the bid. It does not matter if the fault is not yours; as the bid manager you are responsible.
So, how do you keep going with this level of stress, knowing that whilst the pain of the last catastrophe is still raw you still have yet another bid to get out? And how do you keep your motivation up whilst everything around you looks like yet another impending disaster?
I don’t have all the answers. But, I can share with you some of the things which have kept me going whilst trying to navigate through the pressure of the heaviest of bids.
Keeping Your Cool
When it all seems to be going wrong, it can be very difficult to keep things in perspective. My first strategy in dealing with the stress is to tell myself two things, both of which are in my bidding experience entirely true:
- Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it appears at first sight.
- In 6 months, this event will seem to be so trivial that you will not remember why you were so worried at the time.
For instance, can you remember the biggest bid problem you had 6 months ago? I can’t even remember what I was doing 6 months ago without a lot of effort.
Take a Break
If you keep working towards the end of a bid too long, as you get tired you will probably spend more time correcting your own mistakes than moving the bid forward. This helps no-one.
Taking a break means getting away from the bid, the computer and the desk. When you get back, you will feel the increase in effectiveness. Your work rate will go back to where it was and your decision making will be better. This is one of my bid investments which brings a huge ROI.
Keep up the Humour
When the pressure is really on and the whole team is struggling to meet a critical deadline, the whole bid environment can become emotionally charged. Everyone just wants to get the bid over with and to go home. This is not an environment which will help a quality bid being produced.
My solution is to break the tense atmosphere with some humour. It lightens the atmosphere for everyone and improves productivity and bid content.
Have a Clear Objective
As a bid manager, I am aware of the one overriding objective of the bid activity; get a winning bid out on time! However, half way through the bid, this can seem to be an impossible task.
My secret for this is “chunking”. I break down what has got to be done into manageable “chunks” and order them in the way I need to get them done. I don’t have to worry about hitting the end objective; if I stick to managing my chunks, the bid will be ready on time.
Don’t Waste Time
When the pressure is on, it is too easy to get diverted to put off doing the difficult bits you just don’t want to do. Then you find as the deadline approaches, you do not have the time to do some of the things that would lift the quality of the bid.
So, I adopt a “Just Do It Now” approach. Once you tackle that important bid task you have been putting off, your stress load goes down and the remaining jobs become, somehow, more manageable.
So Now You Know!
I remain convinced that it takes a very special person to be a bid professional. You have got to be resilient to all the issues that fall on you from the moment the bid starts running. More importantly, you have got to keep going whilst others around you have had enough. Then you can use the euphoria which you feel after your “Good” bid is delivered to the client to set you up to take on the next one.
This article was written by Andrew Haigh.