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How to make yourself indispensable and avoid getting replaced by an AI

Is the goal to win or just to produce a lot of losing proposals?

If the goal for both you and your company is to win new business, then people will remain indispensable even as AI becomes amazingly helpful. The reasons people will remain indispensable will be that while AI can write, AI can’t write competitive proposals on its own. Even with the entire Internet to learn from, AI will not have insights into the unpublished desires of the customer. 

People at your company will need to interact with people at the customer to understand them. And then people at your company will need to guide the AIs in order to respond to the people at the customer. This will remain true as long as people are deciding what to procure to get their needs met.

If people are indispensable, the question becomes how many and which ones? The answer is all of the people required to:

See also:
  • Gain customer insight
  • Interpret customer requirements
  • Develop strategies based on unpublished information
  • Discover what it will take to win
  • Determine what to say in order to influence the customer’s decision
  • Figure out how to build the proposal around what it will take to win
  • Figure out what to do when things change
  • Figure out how to make your AIs more competitive than your competitor's AIs

The people who are vulnerable to becoming disposable are the people who:

  • Aggregate and assess written information
  • Just assemble documents
  • Follow predictable procedures
  • Can work without interacting with other people

For winning business through proposals, this translates to needing fewer people for solutioning and subject matter expertise, estimation, pricing, document review, and document production. So there will be some lowering of overall proposal costs.

The companies mostly like to prosper are the ones that use AIs to win instead of using AIs to bid more. Using AIs to win will mean guiding your AI based on your insights about the people at the customer. 

What you don’t want to do is to reduce staffing in areas that reduce your effectiveness at performing the items in the first list above. If you want to make yourself indispensable even after your company starts using AI, make yourself indispensable at accomplishing those items.

This will put you in position to be the one:

  • Controlling and guiding the AI, and not the one being replaced by it
  • Responsible for maximizing ROI, essentially making you a profit center to the company
  • Determining the mix between AI and humans
  • Teaching the company how to be competitive and how to best leverage AI for winning 

This means that you’ll have to do more than push proposal paper. You’ll have to get involved in and build your skills at figuring out what it will take to win and how to build a proposal around it. You’ll have to be able to explain and demonstrate the difference between a proposal based on nothing more than published information, and a proposal that shows insight into the customer, opportunity, and competitive environment. You’ll need to become more than a production or proposal manager. You’ll need to become a leader of winning proposals.

P.S. Isn't it interesting that this would still good be advice for making yourself indispensable even if AIs weren't going to be a part of our future? 

WEBINAR: How to change fast enough to remain competitive in an AI world. What do you need to do now so that you can continue to win new business in an AI world? Will you wake up one morning and find that all your proposals are losing? What should you do now to stay on top? Carl Dickson, founder of PropLIBRARY, will be joined by AI and change management expert Lou Kerestesy to discuss how AI will impact the ability of government contractors to remain competitive. Click here for details and registration.
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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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