Leading Successful Tenders – Tendering Leadership

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Ichiban Commercial Solutions Procurement Advice & Tender Writing: Leading Successful Tenders

Leading Successful Tenders – Tendering Leadership

I recently had the privilege of presenting at the PacPrint 2017 Forum in Melbourne. The focus of the workshops and education during the forum was to improve the PacPrint members’ insight and knowledge on leadership.  Thus I focused my presentation on tendering leadership and the leadership qualities of the winners  leading successful tenders.

Instead of going into the “how” of doing tenders, the presentation focused on:

  • what success looks like and what the winners do;
  • how they show leadership and success in tendering

in order to succeed and grow their businesses.

The Burning Question – Cracking the Tendering Code

Cracking the tendering code is:

as much about what we do and how we write our tenders as it is about who we are and why we do what we do.

Moreover, it is about improving and growing business whilst winning tenders –  not the other way around.

Tendering Works….. for….. Mature Businesses

Firstly, tendering success comes to mature businesses; businesses that have:

  • Certain level of business maturity;
  • Mature business planning, budgeting, forecasting;
  • Invest in the Right People;
  • Proven Products and/or Services;
  • Documented & Working Systems and Processes;
  • Proven track record;
  • Keep ahead of the pack; and finally
  • Takes the Time and Resources to Tender.

Leading Successful Tenders require practice

I often get calls from businesses who are new to tenders and have no idea where to start.

The easiest place to start would be by downloading a tender and opening it.

Now – I don’t ever start with the instruction to download the tender.

No – we talk about what the business do, how mature the business is and whether systems and processes are documented. Where the gaps are and what needs to be done to close the gap.

And only then, do we talk about downloading tenders.

The businesses who are ready for business growth, continue on the journey.  The others often disappear into Neverland.

The one tough reality that is understood by those leading successful tenders are that tenders take a lot of practice.

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you are good.

It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

Malcolm Gladwell

Read More: 5 Benefits of Business Planning – Planning your Roadmap to Success >>

Leading Qualities – Leading Successful Tenders

You can download a full copy of the PacPrint 2017 presentation here. A sample of the leadership qualities of winners leading successful tenders are included below.

So what do the leaders and winners do different to be leading successful tenders?

Show leadership

  • Leaders not Followers;
  • Continuously improve their business; and
  • Take the difficult road and keep going.

Vision and Passion

  • Work ON their business and not only IN their business;
  • Are passionate about what they do and why their clients matter; and
  • Know that they need people around them that will keep them grounded.

Make Time for Thinking and Strategy

They understand that it is important to make time for thinking, planning and strategy that will allow them to:

  • Set the pace;
  • Plan the journey;
  • Target the right opportunities – not all opportunities;
  • Allow the right resources; and
  • Understand and Manage Risk

Brand and Reputation

  • Everyone in the business is the brand;
  • Ruthless about protecting brand and reputation; and
  • Understands what matters to customers and protect the customer’s brand and reputation.

Competence matters

  • Right people, system, processes and equipment;
  • Portray a professional image; and
  • Superstars at contract management, maintaining and retaining customers.


  • The winner accept there will be losses and wins, not just only wins;
  • No overnight success; and
  • Keep on doing it, because every time you do, you close gaps in your business.

Accepts it is not only about winning

  • It’s about learning the lessons in every tender;
  • Improving your business; and
  • Winning happens naturally.

Measure and Monitor

  • Mature business systems and processes (maturity in terms of processes, systems not years in business necessarily);
  • You make it, so you don’t have to fake it;
  • Plan, budget, forecast; and
  • Know how they are progressing – at all times.

Focus on retaining current customers

  • Client retention is important;
  • Happy clients will be happy referees; and also
  • A good referee can sell your business competence, leadership and success far better  and often more credible than you can.

Build a contract portfolio


  • show commitment;
  • demonstrates capability; and
  • Highlight a business’ ability to perform.

In addition, contracts provide a bank of referees that can provide feedback for new tenders.

Read More: Competitive Tendering: 7 Tips for Competing for the Cheese >>

Work to Reduce Footprint

  • Success sells success;
  • These days it is not about value adding; however
  • It’s about cost saving, time saving, more for less.

If you have the guts to reduce your footprint to the benefit of your customers, then you can use this as show and tell for other proposals and contracts.

Can show and not only talk about value for money

  • Clear examples;
  • They understand it is all about saving time, saving money and improving business; and finally
  • Demonstrate how it benefits the customer.

Ichiban Commercial Solutions - Tender Writing - Value for Money - Leading Successful Tenders

Leading Successful Tenders

Leadership in tendering is not about perfection but it is all about excellence.

A consistent, continual process of improving your business.

Every tender may not be a winning tender, but every tender is an opportunity for learning and improvement.

Ichiban Commercial Solutions - Tender Writing - Leadership Qualities - Leading Successful Tenders

Visual Connections

The PacPrint 2017 Forum was a massive success and amazing opportunity for the PacPrint members to connect and make deals. Millions of dollars were committed by the end of the forum.

However, I would like to take time to recognise the small time behind the great success.

Karen Goldsmith and the Visual Connections team.

A very humble but incredibly effective team!

Download a full copy of  the Leading Successful Tenders presentation here>>.

You can also download a copy of the Are You Ready to Tender presentation here.>>

Have a great day!

Celia Jordaan

Contact Ichiban today to work with your business on preparing, responding and submitting your tenders.  We also work with your business to do health check to see if your business is tender ready.

For more information on our tendering packages, click here.

Have a great day!

Celia Jordaan

About Celia:

Celia Jordaan has 22 years international and corporate experience and worked in the areas of procurement, tenders, supply chain, contract management, law and risk. She works with business, procurement leaders and teams to develop and implement strategies to boost business performance, make tendering easy and improve bottom line performance.

To learn more about Celia Jordaan, please click here.