Our good friend Dave Fowler (who some of you may know from his time with Pragmatech) is running the Boston Marathon next week with his daughter Heather.
He’s been keeping a blog during his training, which has been enough to deter me from ever running a marathon. Hey, you know, I was just on the point of registering for one. Not.
I was struck by a comment in one of Dave’s posts that:
When you reach the 18 mile mark you are about half way in the race.
Yupp…I know the math doesn’t work out but believe me the last 8 miles can be far tougher than the first 18.
For the best marathon runners, the closing stages make the difference between winning and losing. So too with a proposal, where (no matter how well you’ve planned up-front) those final reviews and improvements can really lift the quality of your document significantly – and push up your scores radically in the customer’s evaluation.
At the same time, the final stretch before proposal submission is often the most demanding in terms of effort and energy, especially if the team’s already tired. Although the adrenaline often kicks in and carries you to the line, it can be hard to do truly cool stuff if individuals are exhausted. Thinking carefully about how to manage and support your proposal contributors for the entire duration of the bid is critical if you want to maintain enthusiasm, creativity, goodwill – and quality.
It’s back to me of my recurring themes: the “three Ps” – that if you think about managing the proposal and the project, without giving equal thought to how best to lead the people on the bid, your team’s destined to struggle. Great proposal people are great people people.
Dave is raising money for Lazarus House in memory of his son Nick, who tragically passed away last year. If you’re able to, please do click on the link and make a donation.