Good Team Featured

02 Feb, 2012

How to be a Good Team Member (Views from Primes and Subs)

Deborah Hayward

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Read time: 2 minutes, 43 seconds

As many marketers in the AEC industry I didn’t start my career in marketing. My career path started as a graphic designer. So I entered new territory when my firm offered me a position to handle their marketing and graphic efforts. After four years I am still learning the nuances. So when the topic of “How to be a Good Team Member” came up for the SMPS DC Blog and Tweetchat I jumped at the chance to interview my peers and mentors to get their thoughts.

Just as in sports everyone must function as a team to get our jobs done. The end goal is always to WIN. But how can you help that process?

Carol Duke, Principal at ZGF Architects LLP, says “I think consultants have it tougher than primes in that they have to reach out to exponentially more people. I’m always looking for advice on how to be a better prime. What can/should we be doing differently to engage our teaming partners?"

Ami Kelly, Director of Marketing & Business Development at GHT Limited, has a unique perspective because she has worked for both engineering and architecture firms. Ami’s advice is “Get to know the people you send quals to in person; push each other to make the submittal better, and brainstorm on how you can further develop win strategies.”

How to be a Good Sub
A sub consultant can strengthen any team submission or project collaboration. How can you enhance the team?

Tips for Subs:

  • Have a vested interest in every pursuit. Carefully review and respond to RFQ/RFP requests.
  • Customize project sheets and resumes to call out when you have worked with a prime and other subs previously.
  • Reach out to primes early and often in the proposal process.
  • Consultants who are delightful during a pursuit will likely be great team members; those who don’t actively engage or don’t respond well send up a negative signal.
  • Send example quals when requesting to team. Don’t assume the prime remembers everything you bring to the table and don’t make them dig for the information.
  • Contribute. Find a need and fill it. Offer to help print or deliver a submission if the prime is extra busy. Offer to send photography or renderings of mutual projects that you have the rights to.
  • Primes pet peeves: generic quals or no effort to make it clear how the sub benefits the team; ignoring specific requests for file types/formats.

How to be a Good Prime
Communication is the key to being a good prime. They are the ringleaders and project managers of the proposal process.

Tips for Primes:

  • Give clear direction on RFP deliverables, including: date/time materials are needed, file formats, file naming conventions; and ideas for competitive differentiators that will complement your win strategy.
  • Don’t assume subs have the same knowledge as the prime, let them know if you want the quals to focus on the team, client, projects, unique knowledge, etc.
  • Let subs know what other firms are on the team so they can highlight past collaborative efforts. Lack of direction leads to generic deliverables.
  • Keep your sub’s in the loop during the project. It is far easier for the prime to keep ahead of information and imagery for quals. Share final costs, feedback from clients and knowledge of any articles/publicity for the project.
  • Subs struggle for imagery either because of budgets or accessibility to projects. Share what you can and let them know when a photographer has been arranged. Most times they’d willingly share in the cost of the shoot or pay the photographer rights to relevant photos for their discipline.
  • Be up front with your subs. When requesting quals let them know if you are still shopping for the right sub or you have decided they are the one.
  • Subs pet peeves: Lack of communication; waiting until the last minute for quals requests and interview invitations; lack of practice for an interview.
By: Deborah Hayward, STUDIO39 Landscape Architecture

Did you miss our February 2nd Tweetchat on “How to Be a Good Team Member (Views from Primes and Subs)? Download the transcript here.