Ever stuck for ideas as to how you can build support within your organisation for the changes you’d like to make to your proposal capabilities? One trick of the trade that can help to build momentum is a very simple one – a stakeholder analysis.
Grab a flipchart – or, maybe, several large pieces of flipchart paper taped together – and draw up your map of those inside and outside your organisation who have a stake in what you do, how you do it or the quality of your results.
Start with roles (sales, finance, legal, delivery teams, content contributors, board members, staff within your proposal centre team, and more), then get specific with individuals’ names where you can.
The ‘outside’ angle is key to include: thinking about customers, partners, sub-contractors (and even competitors) can all spark interesting and useful debate. Humour can help, too – “the janitor who has to stay in late while we’re working on proposals into the early hours” has a stake alongside that Sales Director struggling to meet challenging targets for the year. Drawing pictures can also keep the exercise fun and engaging.
For each stakeholder, then ask yourself three questions:
1. What do they like about what we do today? (Start positive, and show that there’s a platform on which you can build. Improvement exercises mustn’t be opportunities to beat yourselves up).
2. What one improvement would they like to see to our proposal capabilities, and what benefits would this bring?
(Be realistic – even if you may struggle for investment, these priority areas should command senior attention. Asking about the benefits is really important, too, if you’re going to prove a case for change).
3. What would they like from us in an ideal world, and what benefits would this bring?
(Think greenfield sites, not today’s constraints).
Just taking it this far can be really interesting and valuable – a great exercise for a team meeting, for example.
A little prioritisation, before asking relevant stakeholders the three questions directly – especially if you’ve secured sponsorship for the exercise from someone senior – can then move things much further forward. As you chat to them or survey them, you demonstrate your enthusiasm to improve, and you start to get them personally vested in helping you to implement change. And a comparison between “what we thought” and “what they told us” can also be revealing.