What sort of Business Development (BD) organisation are you involved with? Particularly concerning time?
The extraordinarily successful US investor Warren Buffet explained: “The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.”
In other words, a sound understanding of time as a factor in human behaviour and decision making is a critical factor around who wins, and loses, in the stock market.
Now I am not Warren Buffet, but I am suggesting that human psychology and behaviour around time is also a significant factor in the world of the winners and losers in Business Development (BD).
So does your organisation, or team, always find itself:
*Acting to improve your capture position for an opportunity very late in the customer’s buying cycle? With little time to effectively influence their decision positively towards you? Or do you usually invest in capture early, with plenty of time to plan, do, adjust for improvements in your position?
*Short of time to perform critical steps and tasks in quality, best practice, capture and bid management? Or in contrast, would you say that your organisation and team consistently adjust your schedule and resource planning to deliver appropriate quality work for the context?
Impatience in BD is a fear-based behaviour that wastes time and money and undermines customer and market confidence, as well as harming team morale. So if you see less than healthy BD behaviours in relationship to time, e.g. doing the right thing too late (appropriate bid/no-bid decisions) or doing the wrong thing too quickly (bidding for everything) – consider the usually unconscious cognitive biases triggering these behaviours. While there are over 180 cognitive biases, understanding those that most impact business behaviour, especially around winning work – can be powerful.
For example, Short Term-ism, Social Biases, Failure to Estimate and many Financial biases all have significant time-based qualities.
Short Term-ism can include incorrect beliefs that steer your organisation to decisions that can be rationalised now, but fail to add long term value — for example, not doing capture planning and execution because it might not pay off.
Social Biases can include bidding because others always do it, while blind-spot bias (viewing oneself as less biased than others) increase the risk of decisions made ignorant of the reality of a situation. We see many leadership teams bidding solely based on FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out.
Failure to Estimate often involves the availability heuristic – where one piece of information is known, means it must be true – often ignoring what is not known. For example, our competitor will offer an all-inclusive package; therefore all bidders will do the same.
Also, Financial Biases like hyperbolic discounting mean preferencing the smaller, sooner payoff in bidding – such as only bidding for tenders issued – and so missing out on the more substantial but later rewards from investing in capture work to find hidden opportunities.
Observing and analysing leadership team decisions around winning work can help you, and your organisation make better BD and bid decisions that are less driven by fear. Better understanding and managing time as a factor – knowing when to invest, and having the patience to stay the course – is not just the secret to success in the stock market. I feel it is also the secret to success in cost-effectively winning more profitable work for your organisation.