It is hard to avoid MasterChef on Australian TV right now, even if you’re not much chop in the kitchen.
MasterChef has been on our screens for the past ten years. It’s also on five nights a week during prime time – a saturation level of exposure.
The show is so popular that Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall even made an appearance this season (apparently Camilla is a big fan).
Though not much of a cook myself, something I find really fascinating about MasterChef is how it represents the pressure-cooker atmosphere of intense competition.
MasterChef is filmed in a big hall with an open-plan cooking environment. Each of the contestants cooks at their own bench about six feet away from the others, and can clearly see what everyone else is doing.
In such an environment, MasterChef contestants are never allowed to forget that this is a competition, and that their dishes are going to be judged against other people's.
When the judges shout ‘stop cooking!’, and the adrenalin of intense pressure fades, anxiety starts to set in. It’s then that you will often hear a contestant say:
"I hope I've done enough.”
I hope I have done enough this cook, this day, to make it through the elimination and to please the judges.
This is a mindset that those of us who work on bids and tenders can learn from.
While you’re working on a bid, locked away in your war room (if you're lucky), or your cubicle (if you're unlucky), it is easy to forget that there are others out there doing the same. Maybe a handful, maybe hundreds; all of whom really want this business too.
In answering the question, "have I done enough?" you will need to consider not only what you are doing, but what others are likely to do as well.
Fortunes can change quickly in a bidding environment, and many of the people who approach me for help with their bids and tenders are new to the experience of feeling that they need it.
Everything was working fine, they were winning their fair share of business, and then something changes.
A competitor lifts their game. And what happens to your game? It automatically drops as a result.
This is why it is so important to continually re-invest in your proposal effort.
Because if you don't, it doesn't matter how good it was yesterday, or three months ago, or six months ago – it is not going to be enough to keep you winning forever.