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New Training: Win more proposals by improving how you define and communicate expectations

Improve how the people who create your proposals work together

Most proposal issues have at their root the fact that we have to work with other people, with different needs, agendas, and expectations. We come together for a proposal and bring our expectations. When those expectations go unfulfilled or conflict, problems result. And those problems ultimately hurt your win rate. 

This course provides a structured approach to define and communicate proposal expectations so that we can work more smoothly together and maximize our win rate. 

The target audience for this course: This course is for companies with RFP-based proposals large enough to require a team of people to contribute. It is equally relevant to large government contractors as it is to small businesses trying to make the leap from one person who's done all of their proposals to an environment with multiple contributors.

A little history to put things into context…

  • In 2004, Carl Dickson of CapturePlanning.com launched the MustWin Process as a fully documented proposal process with innovations to improve win rates.
  • In 2017, we began migrating the MustWin Process from a milestone-based process to a goal-based process, in which achieving the goals were more important than the steps used to achieve them. This opened up tremendous flexibility.
  • In 2021, we began developing a new model for proposal development, based on defining expectations instead of steps. When combined with the goal-driven MustWin Process, it achieves full awareness of what needs to be done, what is required to do them, when they need to be done by, and how to assess whether they were done properly. 

In practice on real world proposals we are finding this to be transformative. People don’t need to follow a flow chart that breaks with the first curveball thrown by an RFP. Proposal contributors and stakeholders can all know what’s expected of them for every activity without even asking. When there are issues, the expectations are clear so that the team can focus on resolving the issue in a way that puts them back on track. People are less likely to ignore a set of written expectations that will come up later if they do. People tend to appreciate having the expectations spelled out at the beginning.

We’re ready to teach our model to you, along with how to apply it across the life of the proposal. We’ll focus on the key roles contributors and stakeholders play so that everyone will understand what expectations they need to fulfill during a proposal. 

In this new training course, you will learn to use our Expectation Model to:

  • Enhance an existing proposal process. You'll learn how to bring more clarity to the people participating.
  • As a step toward formalizing how you do proposals. If you don't have an established process or it isn't well documented, in this course you'll learn how to build a foundation for better proposals. To be honest, you can get by without a Proposal Process if people understand the expectations for working together. And once they do, implementing a process later becomes an easier, incremental step. The real issue isn’t whether, how much, or what type of proposal process to have. The real issue is how to improve your win rate and how to get there from here. This course will give you what you need to improve your win rate on the people level instead of the flow chart level. But the two can work together.
  • Eliminate friction during proposals.  More proposal friction is caused by unfulfilled or conflicting expectations than any other cause. Except maybe for RFP amendments ;-)
  • Address expectations with a 360-degree perspective. All proposal stakeholders have expectations that flow in every possible direction. And they all matter. 
  • Improve efficiency. People should know the expectations without having to ask. “Work late until it’s done” is an example of a poorly communicated and flawed expectation for a very real need. That need can be better addressed with better expectation management. Handoffs between people go much more smoothly when expectations are clear. Smooth handoffs mean effort spent on improvement instead of rework.
  • Increase your company’s competitiveness. When everything else is the same, the proposal team that works together the best has a competitive advantage. If you are in a line of business where differentiators are hard to find, this becomes even more important.
  • Introduce beneficial change over time. Expectations change. And when they do, you need an effective way to communicate the changes. If you have a model for defining and communicating expectations, you can use it to introduce change. Got a recurring problem? Change the expectations to prevent it. Got a lesson learned? Change the expectations to address it. Got an RFP mandated curveball that no one would expect? Now you’ll have a way to change and communicate the expectations for each stakeholder group throughout the process.
  • Overcome problems with process buy-in and acceptance. Resistance happens when people are asked for things that are too far out of line with their expectations. When you improve how you communicate expectations you reduce resistance and increase acceptance. Or you surface the issue. The real problem is how do you resolve the expectation conflict? Having a structured way to declare expectations gives you something you can change if needed to gain acceptance. Expectations flow in both directions. You want to address your stakeholders' expectations as well as your own. This course will put you in position to be able to do that.

What does this course consist of?

  • Two 1.5-hour zoom sessions per week, for four weeks
  • Examples you can tailor
  • Homework assignments to research and articulate expectations
  • Conversion of expectation lists into checklists and assignments

The first cohort for this course will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am, starting on February 7th, 2023.

You have two options, single participant and dedicated group:

Single participants are $1,595 with a $600 discount if you are already a PropLIBRARY Annual Subscriber or become one first.

Dedicated groups:

  • $5000 with only your company participating, up to 30 attendees, and 3 free annual subscriptions ($1500 when purchased through our website) or renewals to PropLIBRARY
  • Invite your key stakeholders to participate in defining expectations 
  • Use company specific role definitions and milestone terminology
  • By the end of the course you will complete a ready-to-implement expectation matrix that will transform your process
  • Schedule at our mutual convenience

Inflation fighting tip: You probably waste more than this in B&P spending on every single proposal you do, due to issues that directly result from problems with expectation conflicts... A day of schedule slippage here. An extra day of review recovery that should not have been necessary there. A tenth of a percent point decrease in win rate due to having to lower the bar instead of raising it… Multiply by the number of people impacted and soon you're talking real money that this course can help you stop wasting. Instead of fighting inflation by reducing the headcount on proposals (which we both know will lower your win rate), try reducing the number of wasted hours instead.
How do I enroll?

Click this button and let us know whether you would like to enroll as one or more single participants or as a dedicated group. Based on the option you select, we’ll check your PropLIBRARY membership status and send you an invoice for online payment, with payment by check as an option. Along the way, feel free to ask any questions you may have.


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We strongly encourage you to make sure you are a paid subscriber to PropLIBRARY first so that you can take advantage of the discount. You can become a subscriber to PropLIBRARY here.

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More information about "Carl Dickson"

Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing, with more than 30 year's experience. He's written multiple books and published over a thousand articles that have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

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