October 27, 2020
Hey EU project managers,
Iasmina here – the other half of the Sisters Grimm, your one and only source into the spine-chilling stories of managing EU projects. If you know me from my recent webinars on consortium building, you know how much I love stories. I grew up with Brothers Grimm fairytales, and we all know they are not very child-friendly at today’s standards. As leaves turn brown, falling to the ground, it is high time we brought out some treats for Halloween. So, make yourself cozy, and enjoy the ride.
Who said writing your EU project proposal could be drama- and horror-free? Not me, for sure… Building a consortium and starting to work on your proposal can be quite the spooky rollercoaster. One day it feels like a sunny peaceful day in the cemetery. Living in Paris for a while made me appreciate the serenity of walking around the Père Lachaise cemetery (yes, where Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf are resting their artistic souls).
Another day, dealing with consortium building and proposal writing feels like walking the hallways of a medieval Transylvanian castle. If only I had a dime every time people said “ah you’re from Romania, that is where Dracula is from right?”…
Once upon a pumpkin, there was a happy consortium of strong institutions, meaning very good ones in their fields, and it all seemed like the perfect match for that proposal. Within this perfect partnership, this one company was the main partner coordinating the proposal writing. I will not spoil the story with names; after all, like fairytales, do you really know Little Red Riding Hood’s real name?
A happy ending seemed so close, everybody was very much invested and passionate about the topic and the proposal. Everything was all set when, the partner in charge of the proposal writing said, one day, that it was not worth continuing the collaboration and they dropped out in the middle of it all.
The other partners did not give it up so easily – we thought we could still do it! And so, we continued…
Next thing we knew, everything went south with partners shouting at and insulting each other during meetings, up to the point of using some serious words. They were fighting over the concept, blaming one another, for being late with the proposal writing, for not accomplishing certain things. What can you do at that point, what more than just sitting there witnessing it all? You are not in charge of the conflict, you cannot intervene, you cannot escape. Well, that escalated fast…
Of course, the conclusion was that partners decided to drop out one by one because of the conflict. Not so happy ending: the proposal was never submitted. However, we are still hopeful that one day we will find the perfect match and get our happily ever after.
Morale? Yes, plenty. Like, it is not enough to get the best organizations on board for your EU project, but you also have some maintenance to do. How would you deal with such conflicts? Characters need to match, there must be some decent chemistry involved. But when you have a consortium of renowned experts, of course it can be difficult sometimes to keep it smoothly in terms of coming up as a leader. Will that help you avoid EU project horror scenarios in the future? I don’t know, maybe if you join me in my future webinars, we might figure it out together (yes, that was a bit of product placement).
Conclusion? Not submitting this proposal was maybe for the best: imagine committing to implementing a project for a few years with that consortium atmosphere. Now that’s a horror story nobody would want to be a part of…
What about you? Any EU project horror story that would scare even the Sisters Grimm? Submit yours by October 29th https://bit.ly/EMHalloween. Don’t miss your chance and win a webinar recording to learn how to smoothly lead your proposal to submission. Let us help you keep that consortium Hallow-drama away!
Written by: Iasmina CioroianuAuthor : Rita Balazs