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.
What risks does the work environment pose:
- Regulatory compliance:
- Environmental protection concerns?
- Worker or public safety?
- Personal information privacy?
- Information security?
- Are there inherent problems with weather or restricted site access (seasonally or otherwise)?
- Will the contractor have to work closely with other providers of products or services?
Explain how you’ll address the things that matter most to this client:
- Everyone cares about regulatory compliance, but some clients are super sensitive to breaches that smack of insufficient due diligence.
- Everyone expects security, but some organizations live and breathe it.
- Everyone wants performance, but some work is mission-critical.
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.