It would be fair to say, that nobody could have predicted that a global pandemic would act as a catalyst to an immeasurable change to our daily working habits.
For bid professionals, it has often proven to be an even bigger challenge. Bid roles are frequently dependant on working with a variety of stakeholders; having the ability to move freely between teams and meet in person when up against a tight deadline.
New ways of working and communicating have been quickly adopted though, creating a profound level of trust within teams. As we came to learn the names of our colleague’s pets and the colour scheme of their living rooms via video calls, team cohesion and authenticity was hopefully being translated into the bids that were being produced.
But what happens when your immediate bid team and methodologies suddenly disappear due to being furloughed or made redundant? With an estimated 3.8 million jobs in the UK being furloughed in April, steadily rising to 9.6 million by September, was it almost expected that bid professionals would be at greater risk as clients began to put projects and procurement activities on hold?
With this in mind, it has been easy to notice the increase in LinkedIn updates from bidding professionals seeking new work opportunities, mentorship, professional development, but more fundamentally, genuine connections with those who work in the world of bids and business development.
In regards to this wider engagement and connection, it could be argued that the need to reach out to those outside of your immediate network is now greater than ever for your own professional development.
Connecting to the wider community not only creates a platform for sharing ideas and best practice but also facilitates challenge that you may not necessarily receive from your immediate network/team. Conversely, with bidding being such a deadline driven and habitually high pressurised profession, there is often not the time to receive peer support and share information and ideas with your inner circle.
Communicating with people you have never worked with before perhaps creates a greater sense of validity, lateral thinking and thought leadership, as they will challenge, question and find out HOW you work on bids. This should help to propel you forward on your own professional development journey.
The pandemic has certainly created a lot of personal and professional uncertainty for most people, however the bidding community feels like it is building strength through practical means such as webinars and online conferences but also through the overall need to pause, look around and reach out where you can.
Barrack Obama was once quoted as saying; ‘be kind and be useful’, when asked what he felt the biggest life lesson was for his daughters. This simple instruction can be applied when reaching out to other professionals to hopefully boost the skills and knowledge of those working in the bidding and business development arena.