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Unsplash photo-Influence as a solo

“I’m currently sitting on 4 tenders, all of which are 40,000 – 80,000 word responses, all of which need a fairly large piece of estimation and I’m the bid team, pretty much the whole bid team.”

This comment was made to me by a bid professional recently. He was finding it hard to sympathise with the challenges of leading a bid team of ninety where there was significant senior management visibility and support, something I wrote about in a previous post.

If you work as a solo or in a small bid team, in fact whatever the size, I am confident that your senior management will be telling you that bidding is a strategic priority, wins are essential to commercial success and subject matter experts should fit in with (your) the tender’s timescales.

If you are a solo or in a small team, unless you get the senior support and sponsorship, it’s lonely, huh. And it can seem like all the responsibility is left on your shoulders and not shared. All this whilst you have one eye on the clock for the next submission date too.

What can you do?

One option is to develop further your influencing skills. To take them to the next level. This could help you gain momentum with the buy-in, visibility and endorsement you seek. I am sure some bid professionals have had amazing success with influence and I would love you to share your examples in this blog.

For others of us it can be pretty scary developing interpersonal skills to complement our technical expertise. Yet in my experience developing skills is always empowering as it’s something we can experiment with every day – each new email, conversation or meeting. It’s a route we can take to gain different results from conversations.

My own story is this. Before I went on the training course “Positive Power and Influence” I only had one way of engaging with others. (I was lucky enough to attend this whilst part of a sales team at Hewlett Packard.)

I was excellent at articulating my reasons to people. I could “Propose and Reason” until death – death of the idea, death of the relationship, death of anything really. I would have been more effective if I had stopped after two reasons not six. It took clear and supportive feedback from fellow participants on the course to learn this.

From the model I found there are many choices on how to influence – more push styles in addition to “Propose and Reason”, perhaps more surprisingly some pull ones as well, where you invite or bridge with others, and finally some where I believe it is more about partnership with trust and openness as an approach. I needed quite a lot of convincing (remember I was an addict to “Propose and Reason”) to experiment with these new methods.

Truthfully, it has been a slow burn to become really effective with these methods. Under stress I probably still slip back to a push style too. These approaches have changed my life though, professionally and personally. They have also been the segway to becoming a really good coach.

So if you need to increase your influence, upwards and sideways, where you have no or little positional power, take a look at one version of the Positive Power and Influence model here, with a helpful checklist of questions (thank you to the Office for Public Management.)

If you would benefit from some tailored 1:1 tuition or support to develop your influencing skills in your bid context – where you and I could work together to help you feel less of a solo, develop high quality bids with input and support from others, and win commercial success – get in touch.

I would love to help you take your influencing skills and the bid results to the next level.


Gill How has over twenty years’ experience of working with bid, sales and other professionals to develop their interpersonal skills to achieve the level of results and effectiveness they desire. If you would like to meet for a cup of coffee to explore how she can help your development and the achievement of your goals, contact her here.


To take a look at some of her client case studies, take a look here.


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Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results

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