3 “New Normals” You Need To Align WithJune 08, 2020 | By Wayne O'Neill
When we talk about the business and political issues that companies need to align with to build authentic connection with their clients, there are often questions about what exactly that means.
We’re not focusing on the external politics that are often defined by red or blue party narratives. We’re focusing on aligning with anything that influences your client’s decision-making process and often makes or breaks the opportunity to win bids and create project scope.
During this period of disruption caused by the health crisis and economic uncertainty, those business and political issues have likely expanded, or at least shifted.
Understanding what these issues are, taking the time to gather intelligence about these issues, incorporating these issues into your solution, and positioning your company as a trusted supporter will pay significant dividends now and in the long run.
It’s about taking a multi-quarter or even multi-year approach to re-thinking your engagement with clients. Because the reality is that this year’s disruption created a seismic shift in the internal decision-making process and the business objectives for many organizations.
Your responsibility is understanding the “new normal” inside your client’s organization and thinking through how your company can respond to changes in an emphatic, informed, and authentic manner.
Common Business and Political Issues to Align With
The specific shifts in business and political issues will vary by industry, whether healthcare, higher education, government, or others. But, there are common themes or trends that you can pull down from the overall disruption and incorporate into your solution. Consider these broad themes:
- How social distancing has reset expectations in stakeholder engagement
- Understanding your client’s new business objectives and strategies
- Embracing how technology has changed the way companies work
1. Social Distancing
The expectation of social distancing is not just reserved for walking through the grocery store trying not to breathe on someone else in close quarters. Now, this has taken on greater cultural significance as something that stakeholders will look for when deciding where to receive services.
For healthcare, it’s incorporating social distancing best practices into how to design and build a new facility that protects patients.
For higher education, it’s incorporating social distancing into new building designs, parking structures, or mobility solutions to protect students (and provide parents with greater peace of mind).
For mixed-use construction projects, it’s incorporating social distancing into new spaces for individuals to live, work, and play.
Your client is having to think through how social distancing applies directly to their current and future plans. It’s not about shifting chairs around in the waiting room, marking off which areas of campus that students can utilize, or placing circular markers six feet apart. Now, social distancing must be built into new construction plans.
As a service provider, you need to be aligned with the specific business and political issues this creates for your client as the organization tries to walk through who is responsible for making decisions on how to adjust for this new reality.
Your team should be thinking through how to craft a solution that incorporates social distancing and outlines exactly how you can address this challenge for the client. Because if they’re talking about it internally, you need to be talking about it when proposing a solution.
This is a great opportunity to be forward-thinking and present a clear path forward to help solve a major headache, especially when your client is having endless discussions about how to re-engage stakeholders who are concerned about social distancing, safety, and health issues.
2. New Business Objectives and Strategies
The health crisis and economic disruption has caused many organizations to re-think their business objectives and the strategies that support the objectives in response to changes in their industry.
As your client walks through these discussions, your team needs to be tuned into who or what is influencing the decision-making process.
- Is it an individual executive or manager?
- Is it HR? IT? Operations? Or, even an external vendor?
- Is it a larger change to their entire industry?
And, once you understand the influencers, you need to build authentic connection with each of the people influencers to position your company as a supporter during the transition.
This means gathering intelligence to understand how any decisions could materially and permanently alter the way your client goes about conducting business and generating revenue.
For example, a healthcare institution may be completely re-thinking their objectives for providing services to patients following the disruption. This means they may need to build a completely new facility to provide services.
Because of this shift, your company needs to be ready to present a solution that aligns with the new business objectives and supports their strategy for achieving the new objectives.
Taking the time to gather intel from multiple influencers in the organization will help you present the strongest case for the work, craft a solution that solves the larger problem for the organization, and position your company for more pieces of scope or larger pieces of scope for the project work that will be required to support this shift.
3. Technology as a Workflow Disruptor
In the aftermath of the health crisis, many organizations are asking hard questions about whether certain employees need to or should return to their previous work environment.
Technological advancements have created the opportunity to increase productivity, conduct virtual meetings, and have check-ins between managers and direct reports. This new reality combined with the need to find cost-savings measures has caused organizations to re-evaluate their entire work flow.
If you respond to an RFP that is not aligned with this business shift, then you could miss the opportunity to win work and create more project scope.
However, if your company takes the time to understand how technology has disrupted the work flow in your client’s organization and caused an organization-wide re-evaluation of how to perform work, then you should incorporate this new reality into your solution.
In fact, you should take the next step of not just acknowledging the new reality, but identifying how your solution actually allows the organization to leverage new technology and build on what was learned during the disruption to become even more productive and effective in the “new normal.”
This is how you can position your company as a trusted advisor that is empathic toward what’s happening inside the organization, in-tune with the discussions about how to conduct work, and understanding of the decisions that are being made that could materially alter work flow.
Consider The Connection Process to Achieve Alignment
Aligning with the business and political issues happening inside your client’s organization requires a significant amount of time and effort. It is worthwhile, though, to create more project scope that will allow you to build more sustainable revenue.
The key is understanding how to channel your efforts gathering information and making the best use of time building authentic connection that sets you on the right path to achieve alignment.
That’s where we can provide support through our proven methodology, The Connection Process, that helps companies achieve a greater understanding of the business and political issues to align with.
Through our process, we can help you craft more intelligent and comprehensive solutions that not only address what’s contained in the RFP, but addresses the larger challenge the organization is facing during this period of crisis response.
Talk to us today about The Connection Process to support your company’s response to clients. We’ll work together to help you win more work and grab more pieces of project scope.