You might have heard or seen the expression – “There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.”
You hear the term “Pit Bull” and what comes to mind? For many of you, I suspect the image that comes to mind is a very powerful, dangerous and vicious dog. We can thank the media for this, as that is how they seem to always portray dogs that are classified as Pit Bulls.
The term Pit Bull applies to several breeds of dogs – the Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. All of these breeds are indeed powerful but they are not inherently dangerous or vicious. The majority of such dogs are lovable, affectionate great with people (especially children) and get along with other dogs and animals. These breeds are also tenacious, determined, have a high tolerance for pain and are not easily dissuaded from the task at hand, or paw as it were.
Any of these breeds will be well behaved and make a great pet if they get the exercise, positive training and affection they require. Without these, they are prone to being destructive (they love to chew and, thanks to powerful jaw muscles and razor sharp teeth, they can shred the average couch in under a minute) and to finding ways to get into trouble.
I know all of the above to be true based on my having raised and trained an American Staffordshire Terrier (His name is Jack and he is now 2 years old), having met many such dogs and their owners, and having done my research and home work. Jack is very well behaved, loves people, children and other dogs. He is well known and liked by neighbors and goes with us to hotels, restaurants, playgrounds and the beach. He’s also an ambassador for his breed with the local dog association.
Unfortunately, due to some owners mistreating such dogs and/or intentionally making such dogs aggressive (these breeds are often used for dog-fighting, a practice which is horrific and illegal) and the negative image presented by the media, many counties and cities have enacted or are considering “breed specific legislation (BSL). These laws ban specific breeds, solely on the breed itself, rather than on the action of a particular dog and/or owner. This is not fair to the breeds involved. Particular dogs that are known or have proven to be aggressive should be taken from their owners and rehabilitated. Owners who mistreat dogs should be fined or sent to jail.
So, I imagine about now, assuming you’ve read this far, you’re wondering what this has to do with proposals, right? Well, it occurred to be that I’ve been guilty of “position specific bashing” (PSB). I have come to realize that I have been treating sales people and/or subject matter experts (SME) as a group rather than individuals. I have made statements about these groups that only apply to a few specific individuals. I’ve judged the group based on individual incidences. I’ve been blaming the breed, not the person.
After all, not all sales people think they don’t need to be involved in a proposal effort or view it as a bunch of marketing information that is pulled together at the last minute and something which has nothing to do with winning the opportunity. And surely not all SME’s are late with every deliverable and are uncooperative. I’m sure many of you will have worked with sales and subject matter experts who understood their role, actively contributed and participated and who “get it” when it comes to proposals.
Further, I’m guilty of blaming the individuals rather than directing my attention on the real culprit – management. Often times it’s not the fault of sales and SME’s. It’s the metrics applied that drive them to behave in a way that is not supportive of proposals. It lies with management to ensure roles are clearly understood and defined and that sales and SME’s actively contribute and participate in a proposal effort.
So hence forth, no more PSB from me. From now on I’m going to adopt the philosophy that, “There are no bad sales people or SME’s, only bad management.”