"I sure wish we'd turned our proposal writing draft in even later than we did...that would've really benefited the final product!", said no one ever.
We all have really great intentions when we start working on a new proposal. Frequently, though, proposal work is the first item on our to-do list that we let slip through the cracks. At first we just see our little piece of the puzzle being affected...we forget the overall team and proposal impacts that our slippage causes.
Keith J. Cunningham (author of The Road Less Stupid) recommends we consider the 2nd-order consequences of our decisions. The main concept here is that you really do have 100% control over your own actions.
How do YOUR decisions affect the rest of your proposal team and the end product? Here are today's Top 3 Proposal Leadership Skills, specifically for technical professionals. We'll look at why these are important, and the consequences of each if we ignore them.
Selection Team members often receive 15+ (sometimes as many as 100!) proposals to evaluate. You want your proposal to stay in their hands as long as possible. If it’s interesting and easy to read, your chance of winning a contract increases.
We AEC technical professionals LOVE to overwrite...and this is a major problem. We subconsciously make sentences longer and more verbose, creating proposals written mainly in the passive voice. Your competitors want you to keep writing in a passive voice because it gives them an advantage.
“Think about it, would you want to hire someone who is active or someone who is passive? The language in your proposal can create either impression…” (Gary Coover)
Stop sabotaging your proposals. It's time to learn the active voice.
Here are simple examples that...
Goodness...wouldn't it be great if we could know ahead of time if we were going to win work with the proposal we just turned in to our local city, county, DOT, water authority, etc.??
Well, we can.
Or at least we can have a much better idea of our chance of winning based on Lead Indicators.
Ever heard of those?
To define a lead indicator, we also need to define a Lag Indicator. They're two sides of the same coin.
According to KPILibrary.com, "Lag indicators are typically "output" oriented, easy to measure but hard to improve or influence while lead indicators are typically input oriented, hard to measure and easy to influence."
Let's give some quick examples.
A very clear lag indicator is the posted contract awards by an entity. You find out after submitting that you either got a contract...or didn't.
Lag indicators will not tell us ahead of time if we have a good chance of winning a contract.
What do you think a lead indicator is for an RFQ/RFP win? I suggest we look...