Transforming Partnerships - Building relationships that mean business
Case Studies

A typical bid process – case study

Description of each element of coaching program

On this page we describe:

  • The bid start up workshop and its outputs
  • The expectations workshop and ongoing monitoring
  • The innovation workshop with a summary of outcomes
  • The culture and behaviours workshop
  • The sustainability workshop
  • One-to one coaching
  • Social events
  • The final bid

The outputs of the start up session were

The poster shown above is large; 3m x 1m. It is put up in the team room and reminds people every day of their commitments. The people in the team recall the workshop every time they go to the room. This is very powerful in re-setting people's intention for the day.

The visual report reminds people of the MOOD people were in on the day. Upbeat, engaged, positive. This also engages them for the way they work during the bid process.

"This process created a sense of accountability and real leadership which would not have happened if we'd not been driven to meet by Louise our coach. There were some difficult 'aha' moments when we realised things we'd committed to had not been done and we quickly redressed them. It helped build confidence in the team and also put right practical problems that were inhibiting the development of the bid."
   Bid Director

Start up session process

At the beginning of the process we ran a large start up workshop for the participants. The workshop included Managing Directors and other Directors from each of the participants in the bid team as well as the Project Director, key Project Managers and team members with expertise in design, environment, and community consultation experts.

  • Participants learned about each other and established trusting relationships
  • They spent time understanding the project
  • The client voice came through into every discussion they had subsequently
  • Roles and accountabilities on the team were clarified
  • Game changers for the bid were considered through creativity and lateral thinking
  • The leadership structure for the bid was set up and agreed by all
  • Systems, support and culture were established
  • We knew what a 'winning estimate' would look like

Innovation Workshop

It was very important that we pulled out all the possible innovation and cost savings from the participants in this meeting. Transforming Partnerships used creative thinking techniques and questioning techniques to move engineers into different ways of thinking to unlock their best ideas. Not only on the first workshop but in subsequent workshops designed around creative thinking – new ideas emerged: the combination of highly trained and experienced engineers being given new ways of looking at a problem. Its Einstein's way – know a lot about something and then release it using a very different approach to the mind.



Culture and Behaviours Workshop

We touched on this during our start up workshop and people came up with their ideal culture and behaviours. However, it's only by following up – being there as a coach and setting up meeting behaviours and group feedback behaviours that we begin to engage the whole team. What do we see in large projects? The senior people do all the talking. Where may the innovation be? Not necessarily in the ranks of senior managers: bowed down by deadlines and expectations. Meetings become an opportunity to hear from everyone and a coach can remind the senior managers they are not the fount of all wisdom. Just having a coach being around at meetings made a difference. That is how we unlocked a lot of the talent and creativity in this team.

Expectations Process 


Start-up workshops are often full of high hopes. What happens when the commitments are recorded and then measured? People need to sometimes front up to not having delivered what they said they would. It results in real action to support teams- just when they need it. It's not that the senior managers were willfully ignoring the needs of their bid teams – just busy. But an expectations process changes the way they look at their priorities and thus the balance is shifted towards a likelihood a bid can get over the line.

The form below was developed by using the pre-agreed expectations of each team's behaviours by their colleagues as a way of measuring whether people did what they said they'd do. During the start up workshop we ran an accountability session that was recorded and used as a basis for ongoing measurement. It proved a valuable way of surfacing any tensions or concerns and during the ongoing bid development process enabled teams to provide feedback to each other safely and specifically.

Case Studies

Sustainability Workshop

One morning during the bid process was spent working with the team to ensure they could demonstrate how to meet the desired infrastructure rating score and connected sustainability initiatives. With the help of a very experienced sustainability consultant, the workshop engaged the designers who started out with little natural interest in this subject to not only understand at a cerebral level, but also at an emotional level, why this was important and to incorporate it into their work.



One to one coaching for key bid personnel

Often in construction bids there is a driving work ethic which can ignore the personal realities of dealing with the pressure, deadlines and expectations inherent in a bid process. One to one coaching is a pressure valve which allows either key project managers or other members of the team feeling the pressure to sit out for an hour and review what is happening with an independent, trained person who can help them get things in perspective.

The outcome of this is that people don't burn out, retain their enthusiasm and remain effective.

Example of innovation notes

Most of the innovation notes were technical – however, here is an example of using the SCAMPER technique on team cohesion

Case Studies

Social events

These events were really important in this bid process as with all team endeavours. It allows everyone from senior management to graduate engineer to socialise, get to know each other, talk about things other than work. We ensured there were social events where hard work was recognised and milestones celebrated. They cost little to the bid but mean a great deal to the people involved. As coaches we always attend – usually the first couple of hours – to ensure people are mixing and comfortable. We are also there because we ARE part of the team and care as much about their success as they do.

What will a winning bid look like?

This workshop is critical to the development of a winning bid. Often bids are not competitive because everyone in the organisation is shielding themselves from blame around the outcome. Thus they build in 'fat' to the quote just in case the tender becomes unmanageable once won and the company loses money. People's previous experiences play into the new situation and its important that someone who understands this is available to bring it into the open in order to start anew with new projects.

There are always ways companies can be innovative and competitive and still provide great value to the client and make money for the company – an ideal outcome. However it means that estimators have to trust the PMs on the job and PMs have to trust the estimators haven't built 'fat' into the estimate. It is also essential that all involved have worked on the estimate with client in the front of their mind. In the end, a successful job is one that is a) won, b) delivered with good value to the client and profit to the contractor (s).

If they do all of the above – we can predict that they are in pole position to be winner of the job. In summary the winner should be the company or consortium who most understands their client and has the highest trust team working on the bid.

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