Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vendors, Choices and Passion

This summer I’ve had the opportunity to serve on a team representing organizations from across the country as part of a large RFP.  Our team recently came together to hear vendor presentations in response to the proposal.  The vendors are all strong companies, with good track records in the industry, and have the talent and technology to deliver for their clients.  What struck me during these complex sessions though, were the choices these companies made relative to the delivery of their message.

The Right Mix
Since the issues involved require the expertise of more than just one person, each organization was allowed to bring several team members along to assist with the presentations.  Big decision #1 – Who should be on the short list that will provide the most value to the client?  Each group took a different approach, and consequently each group made a different impression on our team.

Does selecting the right mix of team members apply to us as leaders?

Thorough is Good
Since our process has clearly defined items that must be addressed, it was interesting to watch how each organization chose to include, or chose not to include, all of the elements of the RFP in their presentations.  Big decision #2 – Should the message play to their strengths and leave out other information?  Each company went out of their way to answer our questions and cover the material they felt positioned them best; but it was refreshing to have one company address just about everything up front.

Does being thorough in our messaging as leaders make a difference?

Get Fired Up or Get Out
As part of the two days of presentations, one organization clearly was passionate about earning the contract.  Why?  Yes, it’s a great opportunity for them…and yes, it will make a significant impact on their growth.  But they not only talked about being passionate, they showed it in their delivery.  You could feel it in the room.  Big decision #3 – Is it better to show emotion and enthusiasm; or is it better to play it safe [read here ‘dull’]? 

Being fired up about this contract should have been something each of the vendors showed.  I don’t want to work with anyone, inside or outside my company that goes through the motions.  You know who the high energy passionate leaders are that you’ve worked with over the years, don’t you?  Of course you do, because there are so few of them that you remember them long after you no longer work together.

Do you think your employees know if you’re fired up about your work?

How About You
These two days offered me a terrific reminder about my own leadership practice.  As I closely scrutinized these talented individuals representing their companies, I realized that as leaders we’re constantly being watched.  What do our employees say about us?  What words do we choose to convey how fired up we are about the work ahead?  What do you show?

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of cash620

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