I heard it once said that "People Buy People First the Product Second". In the world of consultancy it's never been more true, and no matter how many methodologies, case studies and proposals clients ask for, their decision often comes down to whether they like the people you put in front of them.
Consultants need thick skin. Bid after bid you're judged on your CV and a short interview. Your chance to shine is often as part of a presentation in front of a panel who would much rather be doing their day job, not stuck in a board room for two days with Dave from procurement.
But when you think about creating successful teams, shouldn't more emphasis be put on the relationships, how the team will be structured and whether the team will work well together, and less on the individual capabilities?
I don't think in ten plus years of bidding that I've ever seen the client team set out their own profiles, capabilities and how team members like to work. It's rare these days to even get an organisational chart with actual names in it from the client team, let alone detail of the specific people you're signing up to work with.
So what can client's do to be more transparent?
A good starting point is a decent organisational chart, showing who's doing what in the project. That helps bidders understand how your team will be structured and will, in turn, enable them to better match up their team to minimise any cross-over of roles and simplify reporting.
If you're feeling ambitious, details of the decision making, reporting and governance in your organisation helps give the organisational chart context, and again improves bidders ability to simplify and streamline their own approach.
Next, give some context on the people. This is a tough one, but the background and working preferences would enable teams to try and match up the right people. Using a commonly understood profiling tool like Myers-Briggs would enable bidders to understand what makes your people tick and how to align their people to yours.
And finally give bidders the chance to meet your team before or during the bid process. Nothing helps bidders build an understanding of your team's culture more than spending time together.
What would the benefits be?
Ultimately, any tender process should be set up to get the best possible solution for a project or programme. That solution should be grounded in the people who'll be working on the project on both sides of the table. They need to be able to work together, efficiently and effectively, and bring out the best in each other.
The benefits should speak for themselves. Teams that have been set up correctly resolve problems quicker and work together to overcome challenges and changes that come up as projects progress. If a team works well together the churn in the team is lower, people feel committed to each other and the project and have confident to innovate and support others when they raise new ideas too.
Simply put, high performing teams deliver better results.