Writing Better about Risk: Tip #4

Many RFPs require narratives on the bidder’s understanding of risk and approach to risk management.  Often, what bidders provide wouldn’t be out of place in a textbook: plain-vanilla risk management processes that lay out standard identification, assessment, and mitigation steps.  Boring!  Worse, they show no sign of being tailored for this scope of work: Indeed, they show no sign of ever having done this scope of work. 

Now, granted, clients can do better than to ask about “approach.” But even if they do give you this fuzzy question, it’s not that hard to do a better response.  Start by thinking about things from the client’s point of view. 

Community/Political Environment

How private is this contract?  That doesn’t mean whether it’s being issued by a private- or public-sector client.  Is there a need to communicate with regulatory agencies, government departments, other suppliers, the public, or the media?

Understanding how this contract and your performance might affect your client’s profile in the world is an excellent start:

  • What topics or events will be at issue
  • What communication methods to propose
  • What frequency of communication will be appropriate
  • How your role supports the client

 

Thinking about risk from the client’s point of view allows you to submit a better risk-management response, in whatever form it takes, and also to show risk awareness throughout your entire proposal.  The company marketers don’t always like it – they often see it as negative – but nothing says “Been there, done that, and done good!” more clearly than a good risk answer.

 

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