You, you, you

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“Nigel Hudson: BidHub professional development expert and Bidding Quarterly contributor.” Wow! Such status, respect and profile. It makes me feel great. But it’s not about me; it’s only ever about you.

Do you remember the “2:1” proposal-writing rule about customer centricity? That we should mention the customer’s name first and at least twice as many times as ours? We bidders obsess about it, ensuring the benefits of ‘our’ proposal are immediately obvious to whoever reads it. Yet something seems to change when we remove our proposal-writing hat.

Re-read the opening paragraph of this article. There is only one reference to ‘you’ but three to ‘me’ (Nigel Hudson, me, me). That’s 1:3. And I wrote my name first. Bad form, Nige, bad form. But I know the rule. So what happened?

It’s too easy to shine a light on oneself when placed upon the pedestal of opportunity.

Think about your most recent job interview (and, indeed, your CV). Was it all about you? Or was it about what you can do for others, delivering the value and benefits they seek? Did you focus on their issues, motivators, and underlying needs, making their eyes shine as – dazzled by the brilliance of what they could achieve if they employed you – they realised the potential of their opportunity? Or was it a case of: “Me, me, me; I’m great! What? You’re not hiring me?”


Consider the BBC, whose mission is to “Inform, Educate and Entertain”. They know that they’re a public service organisation whose actions aim to deliver value to their viewers, readers, and listeners. We could do the same (perhaps adding “Inspire” as a fourth value), knowing that it is everyone’s duty to be a role model and thus to lead by example. How, then, do we demonstrate this?


Remember Bidding Quarterly Issue 4? The one about Health & Wellbeing in a profession shaped by deadlines, customer demands and business pressures? It got right to the heart of what people care about and, because of this, is going to have lasting impact. But there’s more. BQ4 was picked up by The International Centre for Thriving at Work, located within the University of Chester Business School. This thought-leading research centre acknowledged the challenge we bidders face as we try to develop our skills in such a high-pressure working environment. Also acknowledged, from an academic perspective, was that it is an insufficiently understood (and acted upon) phenomenon.

Thus, I have agreed to spend the next three years with them, volunteering twenty hours per week of my ‘spare’ time, conducting doctoral research into workplace learning in high-pressure (bidding) contexts. It’s my commitment to you: giving you ‘my all’ to provide you with the ‘inspiration, information, education and entertainment’ to better support, nurture and reward your professional development. I’ll share my findings with you as I go, and will be receptive to your participation in the research. It’s the biggest, scariest, most daunting, and yet most exciting, transformational and promising thing I’ve ever done. And it’s all for you. “2:1. For your benefit.”

This article was written by Nigel Hudson.

Nigel is passionate about professional development. He designed and delivered the APMP award-winning Bid Academy for Vodafone and co-authored Europe’s leading proposal syllabus with Strategic Proposals. He’s trained more than 4,000 people worldwide.

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