What is a pre-mortem and using it to win your pitch

 In Message creation

We’ve all heard of a post-mortem. What about a pre-mortem?

Wikipedia states: ‘A pre-mortem — also known as a premortem — is a managerial strategy in which a manager imagines that a project or organization has failed, and then works backward to determine what potentially could lead to the failure of the project or organization. Heart shape in woman's hands. Cardiovascular medicine

The technique breaks possible groupthinking by facilitating a positive discussion on threats, increasing the likelihood the main threats are identified. Management can then analyze the magnitude and likelihood of each threat, and take preventative actions to protect the organization from suffering an untimely “death”.’

References: Klein, G. (2007). “Performing a Project Premortem”. Harvard Business Review 85 (9): 18–19 and Kahneman D.(2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

The pre-mortem process I use in my business pitch consulting work first involves each person of the pitch team, by themselves, writing down reasons why the pitch will fail. This might only take five minutes or so. Then people share and discuss their reasons which often includes, confirmation biases, blind spots, threats etc. in the strategy, the client, the message.

The pre-mortem process is best done after the pitch team has a bonded, has a good level of confidence, loves feedback and is highly committed to winning the business.

Considering the time and people resources for a pitch – particularly if it’s a pitch for a major piece of business – the pre-mortem process is an efficient and powerful one to use.

Your CALL to action/HOW to apply for this post: When pitching for a major piece of business, build the pre-mortem process into pitch team strategy.

Check out this prior post on Bob Carr’s (former Australian Foreign Minister) Choice Voice Lesson One

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