In a follow-up meeting to discuss a strategic planning and organization development proposal. I was certain that at least one other consulting firm was in the running and that this was the meeting where the CEO and COO would decide who wins the contract.
The CEO and COO sat across the table. I shook their hands, sat down, opened my notebook and smiled. The CEO started with a one minute monolog about their process and work. Then he stated,
“We have one question, why should we hire you?
I bit my lip and responded:
“Not sure why you should hire me. I’m rather sure of who the other firms are bidding for this work and they do great work. My guess is that our process and scope of work is similar. What may help us all is you sharing some of the following information:
- What is your current capacity to complete this work? Does this capacity match the scope and time frame proposed?
- What resources does the proposal request? What resources does the company currently have? How will the gap be identified and / or lessened?
- How will this strategic planning and organization development process be an attractor to employees, customers, new business?
- How will this strategic planning and organization development process be a detractor to employees, customers, new business?
- How does the proposal address the above responses?
- What skills can be used to support the effort?
- What skills do we need to support the effort?
- How will this be understood and visualized before, during and after?
When we have some of the responses above, my hope is, who you should hire may become more obvious.”
They responded to some of the questions. I shared some of what makes my work distinctive and the unique approach I would bring to their company. They walked me out and told me they would get back to me in 2 weeks.
They got back to me and chose to go with another consulting firm.
Perhaps I should have just answered their question. And, I still think that asking anyone why should we hire you? or why should anyone be led by you? or why should we follow you? etc.. is a dumb question.
The person cannot know what you are looking for. Only you, and the management team can know:
- Current capacity of the role – how big is the role?
- Resources you have and resources you may need
- Incentives that can be used to help or hinder progress
- Skills you have and skills you may need
- How best to communicate to the organization
The above boundaries must be defined before someone tells you why you should …