We’ve written about how many clients are focusing on choosing the right team as well as the right solution when evaluating major bids.  This post gives a little more detail on what that can mean.

Each client will adopt a different approach, but in a typical assessment, teams of around 6 will be given a scenario which they have to discuss. This can be a challenge – technical, ethical, commercial or other – and they’re expected to present a workable solution within a relatively short timescale – usually an hour or so. While they’re doing this, they’re being observed by experts who will be scoring them primarily against the way they develop that solution and also the practicality of the solution.

The behaviours (important word!) the assessors will be looking for will be directly relevant to those they’ll need if they’re to deliver the project effectively and in partnership with other stakeholders, and they’ll typically be about working collaboratively. These can be:

•      Whether they’ve managed the “meeting” effectively and drawn practical solutions within the allotted timescale

•      How they’ve interacted as a team and how they’ve performed as individuals

•      How they’ve managed “gatekeeping” – giving all team members a voice and engaging everyone in the solution

•      Whether they’ve been courteous and respectful – giving eye contact and positive body language and not over-talking

•      Whether they’ve exposed (or papered over) challenges and constraints, avoided leaping to conclusions

•      Whether individuals have been prepared to ask for advice – been prepared to show what in non-supported scenario could be wrongly seen as weakness

•      Whether they’ve disagreed or challenged openly and how that’s affected the team dynamics and the solution

Importantly, these behaviours need to be exhibited clearly and picked up by the assessors who will be advising their client on whether the team under assessment is the type of team they want to work with, and can deliver. Because of course what they’re looking for is how the messages they’re reading on the day translate into excellent performance over the life of the project.

There’s no template, no rigid format for these assessments, and new questions and challenges will evolve over time. But the organisations that have invested their time and people in developing a real team ethos and behaviours over the bid period will inevitably perform better than those who haven’t.