Another fantastic Tour Down Under has just ended in Adelaide and we saw the last international race hurrah of the great Lance Armstrong. Lance’s presence and support have helped lift the Tour to World Tour status and from a $30 million event to a $40 million one. Not a bad return on investment by any standards.
So how did ‘getting Lance’ for the Tour come about?
Did someone decide that we don’t need Lance because ‘We can do this internally?’
Did the government put out a ‘call for tender’ inviting Lance to apply for the job? (to ensure ‘fairness’ and ‘transparency’, they would of course have to invite every other cyclist in the world).
Did they then ask him to submit a 20 page application form that would be assessed by a panel of ‘procurement people’ who had never ridden a bike in their lives?
Did they then insist that he come along and give a powerpoint presentation about his expertise and cycling methodology?
And… was an HR person somewhere in the Tourism and Events Department told to call Lance and ask ‘How much do you charge’?
The answer to all of the above is as you guessed: never in a million years.
The Government wanted the very best and went straight there, not via some sclerotic application process. They realised that real vision often means looking outward and upward not ‘internally’. They realised that this kind of engagement is a relationship business and that people do business with other people, not committees. And I’m betting that whatever Lance’s fee was, no one was quibbling about it.
Not a bad process for success I’d say and well worth replicating across all public services, if only in our dreams.