Teaming friends, frenemies, and enemies – 12 tips to mitigate harmful effects

Did you know that contracting officers spend up to 20% of their time mitigating disputes between teaming partners? In an informal poll we conducted on LinkedIn last month, 40% of respondents classified their teaming partners as “frenemies” on their last bid.

You can foster friends, frenemies, or enemies by the process you implement to initiate and maintain relationships with your teaming partners. So, let’s identify who might be a friend, frenemy, or enemy.


  • Provide insight into customers and competitors
  • Deliver valued solutions and key personnel
  • Provide exceptional past performance
  • Share resources to support bid development

Frenemies (friendly rivals)

  • Produce artifacts at their convenience
  • Produce work that is uneven in quality
  • Don’t provide their most qualified personnel
  • Game the process


  • Don’t disclose adverse information
  • Exhibit “enemy-like” behaviors post-award:
    • Acting unprofessionally
    • Complaining to the customer
    • Sabotaging customer relationships
    • Bringing frivolous lawsuits

One of the ways we can identify friends and mitigate the potentially harmful effects of frenemies and enemies is through careful screening. Here are 12 screening tips to consider:

  1. Customer references for similar work, or Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS).
  2. Ability to complement or fill gaps in capabilities or staff.
  3. Previous work history.
  4. Complementary socio-economic status.
  5. Stable revenue and excellent D&B Rating.
  6. No organizational conflict of interest (OCI).
  7. No prior history of suspensions or cancellations.
  8. Favorable location near the customer.
  9. Industry certifications or membership in organizations favored by the customer.
  10. Responsive management team.
  11. History of good prime/subcontractor relations with references.
  12. A company you can trust that won’t go “rogue.”

By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals.
As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $170B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

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Lohfeld Consulting