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Bid process Personal development

The Psychology of Bids, Part One

If you’ve ever studied a social science, psychology or business management discipline, or taken any organisational teamwork training, chances are you’re already aware of Belbin’s team roles and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Both have a strong crossover to bid management*. Their application is extremely useful in understanding what is happening in your bid teams, how you respond to a bid, and in identifying any issues and areas for improvement. In part one of this blog, we’re looking at Belbin’s team roles model and its application to internal bid teams.

Internal: Belbin’s Team Roles

Belbin’s team roles model is often used in team-building exercises where you complete a quiz to work out your team characteristics and how well you work together. For anyone unfamiliar, the below diagram shows the nine roles, their strengths, and “allowable weaknesses” (basically an inversion of the strength):

Figure 1: Belbin’s nine team roles (www.belbingetset.com)

It’s important to understand that you don’t need nine people in a team to perform each of the roles – we’re often a mix of primary and secondary characteristics.

When I previously completed the quiz, I was – probably unsurprisingly given my profession and to anyone who has worked with me – a primary Completer Finisher, and secondary Monitor Evaluator. You may have the Co-ordinator role in there instead. These three roles provide many of the key skills for a Bid Manager: maintaining awareness of the priorities and deadlines, encouraging the team, ensuring a high quality response by proof-reading and correcting issues, reviewing content coming in and identifying gaps, and getting the response across the line. Worry and be anxious? Never……….

During a bid, you’ll work alongside many, if not all, of these roles. Your Resource Investigator may be your Account or BD Manager, who knows the client well and initially brings the opportunity in, pushing for its pursuit. No doubt you’ll rely on some Specialists to produce technical input, and have the Teamworkers and Implementers who just put their heads down and get on with drafting content or designing graphics. And how many of us have worked with Plants and Shapers – maybe your MD, CFO, or Sponsor. Those who kick things off, gee the team up, leave you with a great idea, and then disappear off into the night until sign off time when you just can’t get the solution to add up? Can you recognise these roles (or personalities) in your bid teams?

Figure 2: Which type of Plants and Shapers do you know? The Ron, or The Leslie? (https://giphy.com)

While working on a bid, it’s vital we have a combination of roles

Do you have a balance in your bid team; are you too ‘heavy’ in a particular area, or are there any gaps? While working on a bid, it’s vital we have a combination of roles, since there’s such a mix of tasks and responsibilities which require different skillsets. Successful bid teams have this mix, even if you don’t realise it at the time.

If Belbin’s team roles model can help us look inwardly at our bid team, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can help us really understand what is important to the client and to focus on the right areas in our response. We’ll cover this in part two, next week.

*In fact, in its more recent iterations, the APMP Body of Knowledge references Belbin amongst other traditionally social science models.

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