The Role of the Chief Bid Officer
Take a look at the organisational structure of a typical corporation. Within the structure you will most always find roles for chief executive, financial and information officers. However rarely do you find the position of Chief Bid Officer (CBO).
The pronounced absence of a CBO position is particularly paradoxical when viewed in the light of the revenues generated through successful bids.
So what has lead to the marked absence of the CBO position?
Compartmentalisation of the Bid Cycle
The bid process is best viewed as a cycle. Like a carpentry dovetail joint each stage of the cycle should interlink with the next to form a strong cohesive process. Unfortunately the bid cycle in many companies more closely resembles two pieces of wood butted together and joined with a rusty nail.
Compartmentalisation of the bid cycle typically means that core bid resources are dispersed and therefore do not require centralised management by a CBO. The fact that the bid cycle is made up of peaks and troughs tends to add weight to this view. However this view is typically held as a consequence of not being able to differentiate between the operational and strategic phases of the cycle.
Internal Management Politics
Most managers would rather cut off a finger than relinquish control of human resources. Consequentially internal management politics hinders the restructuring necessary to create a CBO position.
The recommendation to realign bid resources often flows from a strategic review. However the use of traditional linear planning techniques devoid of change team input normally results in recommendations being shelved.
The fact that many organisations do not have a formal change management methodology has been a major factor inhibiting the creation of a CBO realm.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI's)
Preoccupation with individual performance targets has resulted in many organisations loosing sight of the importance of group KPI's.
Normally when the group KPI's are underrated so is the importance of building expert teams and therefore the need for positions such as a CBO.
So what is the of Role of a CBO?
The role of CBO is a strategically focused tier-1 management position with minimal involvement in operational bid matters.
A CBO is principally responsible for developing and implementing an overall bid methodology as well as establishing and managing the bid collaboration centre.
Whilst a CBO may elect to chair bid review meetings the role does not include involvement in bid preparation activities.
What makes a Good CBO?
A CBO is first and foremost an innovator. By innovator I mean someone possessed of a tangible vision and the skill set to deliver his or her ideas.
The management style of a CBO should be that of an assessor and not an evaluator. Whereas an evaluator typically only looks at what's wrong an assessor focuses on strategies for on going improvement.
The Past Lives of a CBO
Forget about offering a graduate with a few years of work experience the position of CBO.
An effective CBO needs twenty or more years of practical experience in general and project management as well as significant bid exposure.
By virtue of its tier-1 management status, an individual with a track record of autonomous resource management must fill the CBO position.
Life Without a CBO
Without a CBO an organisation will fall well short of reaching the utopian level of any business development maturity model.
The characteristics of the optimised utopian level, which include innovation and transformation, cannot be obtained without the steerage of a CBO.
About this Article
This article is a brief thinking piece intended to present key points for further reflection.
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