energizing breakthrough performance

Proposal Mayhem: A Vituperative Diatribe Against Delayed Reality

3. Are we thinking before we write, or are we just looking busy?

Busy. Busy. Busy. Yeah, if you think that this is an unreasonable question, then you haven’t worked many places or perhaps you haven’t been paying attention. Don’t confuse smoke with fire. Don’t confuse process with results. Don’t confuse Shinola. Lots of folks can put together a lengthy screed. However, proposals are not judged by the pound. Honest. Even at the Pentagon. They are judged by the clarity of their content… Multiple authors working together on a proposal need to resist the urge to play "my way or the highway." The idea is to talk together about the requirement, the competition, the key themes, the subtleties which, when introduced, might create unease concerning choosing a competitor, the confidence-building that will lead people in the prospect’s organization to conclude that choosing us is the only safe and responsible decision. There are other valuable topics: Call Strategic Futures® Once we have talked together, and have a plan for writing including an annotated outline, timeframes for first and second drafts, and other shared frameworks for working together, then it’s time to start writing. Not before…

4. Does everyone who is working on the proposal understand the "womb-to-tomb" proposal development process?

Or, are we just running up and down the hallways looking important? Maybe staying late into the night drinking coffee in hopes of getting noticed for the next round of promotions or bonuses…a late-evening dalliance, maybe even, making for halter-skelter rather than helter-skelter. No, helter-skelter late hours are rarely evidence of genuine corporate heroism. It’s more like genuine corporate zeroism, unfortunately. High-adrenalin action is usually evidence of an undefined process for developing and finalizing a winning proposal. The absence of explicit expectations and methods for creating a winning proposal creates a certain amount of manic panic. Then, to inoculate against being associated with a losing proposal team, each member strives to engage in individual heroics to protect his or her career. The heroics are adrenalin-based rather than vision-based and the result is lots of perspiration and a failing enterprise. "We worked so hard, how could we have lost?" Because masochism is more fun than thinking? Because it’s easier to flagellate ourselves than it is to communicate with one another and devise a plan for winning? Because we are better prepared to do theater than we are to do business? You tell me, Crispin.

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