As we mention on our profiles on the “About us” page, BJ and I came into proposal management from opposite ends of the spectrum. I was in purchasing – getting frustrated with the quality of suppliers’ proposals. That tends to mean that it’s areas such as pre-proposal planning, qualification and strategy that interest me most in the proposal process.
We meet in the middle when it comes to writing – we both love playing with the written word. And, of course, we can each “do” the whole spectrum of activities pretty effectively – we couldn’t succeed like we do if that wasn’t the case. But, given a preference, we know where we prefer to operate as individuals, and how we can use of skills and interests to the greatest advantage when we work together.
I was discussing this with in a workshop last week. They were finding that some of their proposal staff were struggling – they always seem to be stressed. One idea we threw around was making their organisation structure more granular. A team of ‘one size fits all’ proposal experts results in individuals having to wear a multiplicity of hats. Yet how many people are truly confident running a strategy workshop with a group of senior sales and business folks AND expert at sitting quietly to edit text AND a guru at document layout in Microsoft Word?
As proposal folks, we all have to multi-task from time-to-time: we work on smaller deals that don’t merit the involvement of several proposal staff. Or we work in organisations where we aren’t a member of the proposal centre – we ARE the proposal centre. But I do think it’s important that people understand their own personal preferences and strengths, so that they can play to those wherever possible (and so that they’re conscious of where they might need extra help, or to take extra care lest they gloss over the activities that interest them less).