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Monday, 11 October 2010

Why tender when there's too much at stake?

I don't tender for work. Not because I don't believe I can win tenders, but because I don't want to take on projects that have rigidly defined outcomes. The skill of tendering in my view is to show how, beyond reasonable doubt, you will deliver exactly what the client is asking for. When I take on a project, both I and the client have a shared understanding of the issues and opportunities. We also have agreed that there is room for creativity, innovation and serendipity too. Sometimes you don't know what might happen until you let it.How do you define that in a tender that will be scored against a pre-prepared matrix.

Of course I could simply take the money and deliver what is asked for, but somehow, I don't have it in me to overlook what crops up that actually might deliver a better result. My clients sometimes wrestle with the problem of tendering from the other perspective. They think I can deliver what is needed but as yet, cannot define either the outcome or process in a way that enables them to offer the project out for open tender.

It's about being honest, open and most of all trusting each other in my view. The tendering process too often replaces trust and openness with cunning and secrecy. Isn't it time people made buying decisions based on trust and instinct? Sometimes there's simply too much at stake!

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