In most agencies and professional services firms, pitching for new business exists as an addition to most teams’ daily responsibilities. So there’s going to be a potential issue of effort and energy to address.
Pitching is – or has to be – an intense activity. No shortcuts. No back burner prioritization. Go big or go home.
(That’s why I continually recommend “pitch less to win more.” That’s another matter.)
The immense energy needed by a team has to be available at the beginning, middle and, especially, at the end of the process. Where does it come from?
It’s apparent that one source of energy resides within each team member. If you’re loving what you’re doing and, importantly, using your strengths to do it, you’ll find ways to replenish your energy.
This article in HBR cites another important source of energy: one’s fellow team members. The authors call it “relational energy.” It’s how other people can energize us. And the inverse is true: team members can just as easily drain each other of energy. Consider how these factors may impact the energy and performance of your pitch teams:
High quality connections. The authors found that such connections increase relational energy. Are your teams constructed of people who work well together? Or are you constantly dropping in team members from across the organization, even from other offices? Connections may be weaker. Relational energy won’t be as high.
Create energizing events. Pitch team meetings should be active, productive, as short as possible, and even fun, at least occasionally. People should feel like contributions are valuable. They should feel like progress is made, and they’re learning. Are your pitch team meetings like this, or are they marathon talk (or argue) fests, with team members needlessly sitting around accomplishing nothing?
Use tools that promote a “giver” culture. Team members, even across disciplines, should be helping each other. Contributing in ways that are above and beyond. Are your pitch teams made up of people who are protective of their functions and contributions? Have boundaries been set up that limit collaboration? Do people feel the need to put their stamp on the pitch to the exclusion of that collaboration?
It’s easy to lose sight of these factors in the heat of battle. Effective pitch team leaders ought to be monitoring their teams for energy, doing what’s needed to keep it at a high level.
- Bob Wiesner