Issue 9 - Necessity Is The Mother of Invention

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“Welcome to Bidding Quarterly, the thought leadership publication for the bid and proposal profession.” There, I’ve said it. I have hoisted aloft BQ’s colours for all to see and envy. And I did it proudly, in my first paragraph, as your guest editor.

Ooh? A guest editor for Bidding Quarterly? Yes, it’s true. Martin asked me a while back if I’d like to edit the magazine, to weave a narrative through the contributions and connect the dots using the professional development lens for which I’m best known. There would be key learning points and practical tips to be highlighted, educational themes to identify and ‘sweet nuggets of truth’ to celebrate. And, given that this is a publication for bidding folk, I would be able to apply the “So what?” rule to ensure the publication delivers the value you seek. Yes, editing BQ would be my dream job. So why did it take me so long to accept Martin’s offer? Simple: there are labels attached to being an editor.

When he wasn’t writing some of the 20th century’s most critically acclaimed poems, famed writer and editor T.S. Eliot said, “Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.” I wondered what effect being BQ’s editor would have on my reputation for success. Eventually I agreed to the role knowing that, as a writer and editor in my spare time, I had a pretty good grasp of Ernest Hemingway’s advice: “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.” Wise words for anyone working in proposals; I bet it’s an opinion shared by most procurement people, too.

I needn’t have had any concerns about editing BQ. As soon as I saw the articles submitted by our experts, I realised that they needed minimal or no correction and had been written in a way that highlighted their educational value. Bid and proposal people really do live, breathe and obsess about persuasive communication. The copy from our experts was crisp and the messages were clear. No wonder they’re such respected thought leaders.

There I go again. Thought leader. I really do mean it. Our BQ team are doing what they do best: sharing their knowledge, their discoveries, experiences, ideas, reflections and their learning, to help you to succeed. And they do it in an honest, down-to-earth and accessible way. This is not the Ego Express. It’s a thought leadership publication for your benefit.

In this edition, our experts have spoken honestly about how they’re adapting to more challenging times; how they’ve overcome adversity; how truth, empathy, simplicity and consistency are central to success; and how inventiveness can help us to see ‘better’ as we inch forward into an uncertain future. Subliminally they have addressed our desire to ‘survive and thrive’ during (and beyond) the restrictions of lockdown and the inevitable constraints of a recession, when ways of working and the definition of ‘workplace’ are changing. But it’s not all ‘restriction’ and ‘constraint’, however awkward or titillating that might be. As we know, change presents an opportunity for us to shape things for the better.

Talking of change, there are some exciting and radical developments coming in BQ10. But that’s three months away. For now, I’m proud to be the one holding aloft the last ‘single digit’ edition. It rebelliously defies the pressures placed upon us, including the dogmas and outdated processes that might otherwise constrain our ability to embrace fresh new ideas when they are most needed. That’s what thought leadership is about. It’s about inspiring actions that create positive change.

Nigel Hudson

In this issue

  • The E Word

    Sarah Hinchliffe

    Since way before the E word – empathy – came into vogue, I have been wedded to the importance of a strong emotional connection in selling (see BQ8). People tend to buy from people they like and trust.

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  • The Eyes Have It

    Kat Wyon

    ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. A well-worn phrase, teetering on the brink of cliché. At its heart lies a simple message summed up by its close cousin ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’. We humans like routine and order. We work hard to create a daily life that’s just so. A tool for every job. That sort of thing.

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  • Learn From Donald Trump!

    Chris Kaelin

    No, I am not talking politics. I am not talking about Donald Trump as a person, either. However, we can learn something from him that hasn’t got anything to do with politics: his language. Despite improved online tools and with the Covid-19 pandemic, we communicate less and less face-to-face. As a result, the choice of our spoken and written words is increasingly important.

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  • Are You Listening?

    Tim Snell

    It was my birthday – July 28th 2009 – when I woke up not realising I had lost three quarters of my hearing in my right ear. I wasn’t sure what was wrong at first. By the time I had jumped on my motorbike to go to work I knew something was amiss, but when I turned it on, the realisation of it struck me immediately.

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  • “Unsubscribe” and the Need for Audacity

    Jon Williams

    Back on 10th June 2019, the top movie at the US box office was The Secret Life of Pets 2. It grossed just under $5m that day, from a little over 4,500 cinemas, on its way to total revenues worldwide of $430m.

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  • If Necessity is the Mother of Invention, then Consistency is the Father of Success

    Tony Birch

    Having worked with a large number of organisations (both ones that are successful and ones that are not), I have become convinced that consistency is one of the key attributes of successful business winning organisations.

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  • Spotlight on Pippa Birch

    Bid Solutions

    Pippa has been a Bid Writer for over fifteen years, working as an employee for major companies within the Highways and Civil Engineering Sector for the first ten. She started freelancing in 2012 which led her to write for companies across a variety of sectors (construction, facilities management, custody and forensics).

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  • Surviving ‘Snakes and Ladders’ by Not Rolling the Dice

    Jeremy Brim

    It’s easy to make good decisions when you’re successfully climbing the ladder of growth with a tailwind of a booming economy. Your leaders can take their pick from the abundance of opportunities, giving themselves time and space to calmly develop relationships and select the best path to meeting your business plan and strategic objectives. But now the economy is a busted flush.

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  • You Can’t Always Get What You Want

    Graham Ablett

    Adversity will mean so many different things to different people. We live in a world where people have to face much more adversity than me. So, when Martin asked me to think about the topic, I found it quite a challenge as generally I think I’ve been dealt a pretty good hand. Great family, amazing friends, brilliant colleagues. But like most people, I have faced some tough challenges along the way, so here goes…

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  • Apply a Growth Mindset to Accelerate Your Progress

    Peter McPartland

    The Covid-19 lockdown presented an excellent opportunity to assess if we operate with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. From the outset, I felt the changes forced through lockdown (as ever the optimist) provided an excellent opportunity to evolve our bidding approach by embracing the circumstances and encouraging the adoption of new ideas, tools and support. I’ve highlighted three areas that I’ve found to be important in achieving this…

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  • Life of a Bid Consultant in Lockdown

    Andy Haigh

    Sunday – The contract was agreed last week. I get an email from the client giving me my system login details. I am surprised they can get their support people working on a weekend, whilst in lockdown. Perhaps it is me who is mad, looking at my emails on a Sunday? However, I file the information away and shut the door of my home office.

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