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Post Info TOPIC: Do we learn as we get older


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Do we learn as we get older


So here is the thing - I am 53 years old now and love my work, but  I expected that by my age I would have seen everything and learnt not to be disappointed by how things dont always turn out the way you want! 

I went to see a client in November and  after a couple of discussions talking them through various projects and work we had done elsewhere, in January they contacted me to say they were convinced and wanted to run a similar project themselves. great news, but the process would need to be run competitively and  they would be inviting 4 bidders (we are management consultants). 

So process runs we put SOOOOOO much effort into it, got the team together for the pitch on Friday last week and did what we thought was a great job. 

Client feedback today - really sorry, we thought you were great, what you proposed made sense and we are sure you are v competent, price was bang on with the competition, but we just didnt feel there  would be a good cultural fit with the rest of my team - too Oxbridge like, too polished, too male (we took 4 men to the pitch, bad call), almost too professional. 

So we arent being shortlisted. I was so, so , so disappointed. We have lost a million pitches and will lose a million more and pick ourselves up but is anyone like me - by the time they have been in business for a long time, do you still get disappointed like a personal blow when you lose something you thought you would win. 

Just venting. Big bottle of non celebatory wine tonight and off to watch the Town play footie I think...Sad. 

 

 

 



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JonH


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JonH wrote:

So here is the thing - I am 53 years old now and love my work, but  I expected that by my age I would have seen everything and learnt not to be disappointed by how things dont always turn out the way you want! 

I went to see a client in November and  after a couple of discussions talking them through various projects and work we had done elsewhere, in January they contacted me to say they were convinced and wanted to run a similar project themselves. great news, but the process would need to be run competitively and  they would be inviting 4 bidders (we are management consultants). 

So process runs we put SOOOOOO much effort into it, got the team together for the pitch on Friday last week and did what we thought was a great job. 

Client feedback today - really sorry, we thought you were great, what you proposed made sense and we are sure you are v competent, price was bang on with the competition, but we just didnt feel there  would be a good cultural fit with the rest of my team - too Oxbridge like, too polished, too male (we took 4 men to the pitch, bad call), almost too professional. 

So we arent being shortlisted. I was so, so , so disappointed. We have lost a million pitches and will lose a million more and pick ourselves up but is anyone like me - by the time they have been in business for a long time, do you still get disappointed like a personal blow when you lose something you thought you would win. 

Just venting. Big bottle of non celebatory wine tonight and off to watch the Town play footie I think...Sad. 

 


Hell yes.  I am (just) older than you but the buzz of success and the destructive feeling of injustice/failure when it doesn't work out is as strong as ever.

In the business I am in, we are raising funds for building projects.  We watched another company raising far more than us (multi millions) for the same thing and we knew they were fraudsters.  We try to do things professionally and correctly but our success levels in terms of raising funds are much inferior to that of this competitor.  The frustration kills me at times.

The competitor I am speaking of got found out, shut down and is in Dubai trying to evade jail, the last time I heard.

However he has screwed up the market for everyone as nobody trusts the project, even though it is both popular and completely viable.



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I learn something new everyday .... not always related to work. Today it was attention to detail around centre forward positioning. Yesterday it was my daughter had spent 7 hrs of her day on social media.... so I share your disappointment.

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I'll wait until the "wild cards" discussion before answering wink



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Strongbow wrote:

I'll wait until the "wild cards" discussion before answering wink


 Oh when do we start that ?    



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thanks for the notes guys - I dwelt on this overnight and in retrospect you kick yourself for some schoolboy errors. The client is a North West based organisation, FTSE 250, and the people we pitched to included a couple of women. What do we do, we rock up with a team including the United Nations, French, mexican, Dutch and not a woman in sight. These things probably shouldnt matter but such a lot of the decision is around fit and can they feel comfortable working with us and it is so easy to shoot yourselves in the foot from the start!

Learn for next time!

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JonH


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JonH wrote:

thanks for the notes guys - I dwelt on this overnight and in retrospect you kick yourself for some schoolboy errors. The client is a North West based organisation, FTSE 250, and the people we pitched to included a couple of women. What do we do, we rock up with a team including the United Nations, French, mexican, Dutch and not a woman in sight. These things probably shouldnt matter but such a lot of the decision is around fit and can they feel comfortable working with us and it is so easy to shoot yourselves in the foot from the start!

Learn for next time!


I'm older than you Jon, but still do consulting work, though more in the field of international development. I ran a firm for the last 8 years, but am now working mainly by myself, as got tired of all the losing pitches, even when I knew we could do a good job. In my line of work, one will get nowhere without women in your team, so in all pitches I do, but got tired in the end, and did find I was losing my energy, when I was doing the bulk of the work in proposal development, but unfortunately in a couple of interviews I thought we would win, my colleagues didn't come across as well as expected... It's become a tougher world certainly, but yes, it's important to keep learning and be open to learning whatever one's age, otherwise it all gets a bit stale... 



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Strongbow wrote:

I'll wait until the "wild cards" discussion before answering wink


 No cry



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I have learnt and promised myself I will Not even look at the wildcard discussion.

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Yes we keep learning Jon, 100% there is no doubt. But with your "no women on the pitch error"......you knew that, but probably focussed on other areas of your pitch and lost sight of that detail. When it turns out as it did.....doh! Maybe its the ability to stand back from what you're doing and see the big picture.....were you in the thick of it full of passion???

What I have learnt is you can spend most of your life trying to get everything perfect and then it can still go wrong. We do most of what we do with other people in business because you like/identify with the other person. Your lack of women on the team may be a factor but how do you know on another pitch they didnt just click, a chance converstaion about their children, music, sport....anything. You may have been spot on perfect but, for whatever reason they chose somebody else. You'll never know, you can just be the best that you can be and I tend to find that things work out the way they do. Not everything is within your ability to control.

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Shhh wrote:

Yes we keep learning Jon, 100% there is no doubt. But with your "no women on the pitch error"......you knew that, but probably focussed on other areas of your pitch and lost sight of that detail. When it turns out as it did.....doh! Maybe its the ability to stand back from what you're doing and see the big picture.....were you in the thick of it full of passion???

What I have learnt is you can spend most of your life trying to get everything perfect and then it can still go wrong. We do most of what we do with other people in business because you like/identify with the other person. Your lack of women on the team may be a factor but how do you know on another pitch they didnt just click, a chance converstaion about their children, music, sport....anything. You may have been spot on perfect but, for whatever reason they chose somebody else. You'll never know, you can just be the best that you can be and I tend to find that things work out the way they do. Not everything is within your ability to control.


 Hi Shhh and everyone else that responded. yes, I think you are right. The client fed back in this case that they just felt the culture didnt fit. One of our rivals (a much larger firm) went in with a team of consultants that are all relatively local to the client location wise; and with a team that is able to  show a sleeves rolled up style of experience (I know our rivals in this case well). Whereas we went in, as mentioned, with a wide ranging set of nationalities in our team and several folks profiles clearly showing a second to none academic background (Oxbridge, LSE etc - not me,  I stand out like a sore thumb!) and overall I think the mix put them off. 

You are right, we probably where in the thick and too full of passion (how can anyone be better than us!) and I think we misread the human aspect of things!

So...it looks like I have learnt! 

Onto the next one

!

 

      



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JonH


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JonH wrote:
Shhh wrote:

Yes we keep learning Jon, 100% there is no doubt. But with your "no women on the pitch error"......you knew that, but probably focussed on other areas of your pitch and lost sight of that detail. When it turns out as it did.....doh! Maybe its the ability to stand back from what you're doing and see the big picture.....were you in the thick of it full of passion???

What I have learnt is you can spend most of your life trying to get everything perfect and then it can still go wrong. We do most of what we do with other people in business because you like/identify with the other person. Your lack of women on the team may be a factor but how do you know on another pitch they didnt just click, a chance converstaion about their children, music, sport....anything. You may have been spot on perfect but, for whatever reason they chose somebody else. You'll never know, you can just be the best that you can be and I tend to find that things work out the way they do. Not everything is within your ability to control.


 Hi Shhh and everyone else that responded. yes, I think you are right. The client fed back in this case that they just felt the culture didnt fit. One of our rivals (a much larger firm) went in with a team of consultants that are all relatively local to the client location wise; and with a team that is able to  show a sleeves rolled up style of experience (I know our rivals in this case well). Whereas we went in, as mentioned, with a wide ranging set of nationalities in our team and several folks profiles clearly showing a second to none academic background (Oxbridge, LSE etc - not me,  I stand out like a sore thumb!) and overall I think the mix put them off. 

You are right, we probably where in the thick and too full of passion (how can anyone be better than us!) and I think we misread the human aspect of things!

So...it looks like I have learnt! 

Onto the next one

!

 

      


What's interesting there Jon, is that it was the chat YOU had with them last November that interested them in working with you. But as you say, you then put together a team in which you stuck out like a sore thumb!!!

Seems to me you didn't analyse what actually interested them in working with you when you visited end of last year.... 



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I think you could be right there Michael D. !

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