There’s a reason we refer to proposals as “live engagements”. It’s because the development of a proposal isn’t a static, onetime event. As we all know quite well, it’s a complex series of many activities, many happening in parallel and many dependent on the preceding activities.
That why it’s important to be thinking actively and in the “ing” rather than thinking in the “ed” and as activity done once and closed.
It is a naïve proposal person who qualifies an opportunity and makes a decision to pursue it and then not re-qualify it as new information comes in. Inevitably, as a proposal effort gets underway, new information is garnered, both from the client/customer and internally. The qualification/selection decision needs to be reviewed in light of significant new information. Likewise with other proposal activities: You develop a proposal plan and then you continually adjust and revise that plan. Throughout any proposal development effort the plan will change many times as you adjust for real life coming in to play.
You’ll remember that the over-riding purpose of a kick-off meeting is “to inform and motivate”. Hereto, you don’t want to think of the team as informed and motivated. You need to be continually informing and motivating the team (I refer to this as “knowing when to hand out the candy bars”.)
So, when working on your next proposal development effort, think “ing”, not “ed”.
*Credit for this great tip goes to David Oliver, a member of the Professional Ski Instructor Association’s Demo team. He provided this tip during a session I was fortunate enough to attend with him as group leader. Dave pointed out that in skiing, you’re never “ed” and always “ing”. You’re balancing, edging, pressuring, etc. Great tip Dave!