When an organization decides it's time to get good at winning new contracts, it often focuses on developing its proposal process. This is a good thing. But it is also not enough. It is merely a starting point. Winning as an organization requires more than just a process. There are staff issues, leadership issues, culture, management practices, strategies, collaboration, resource allocation, and more that are just as important to your win rate as your proposal process.
Becoming a winning organization is critically important for achieving growth. And without growth, the opportunities a company can offer the staff that work for it are limited. Growth should be your top priority for developing a winning culture. But becoming a winning organization requires change, and people are not good at change. And the change should go to the very heart of your company's mission, because it's probably holding you back.
Organizational development can start by increasing the effectiveness of your proposal group. But it shouldn't end there. A winning organization will consistently beat collections of contributors thrown together to produce proposals, even if they call themselves a "team." If you simply delegate winning to ad hoc proposal teams, you will not maximize your chances of winning. Here is how to tell when winning requires organizational change. Because the culture in an organization is often different than what people aspire for it to be, it also helps to assess your organization using some objective signs that your company is not the winning organization it could be.
When you realize that corporate culture is as important to growth as the steps in your process are to improving your win rate, then you have to figure out what specifically to do to create a winning culture. Most companies don't give it nearly enough attention, and as a result, it's defined more by personalities than by intent. Developing organizational approaches that enable you to produce better proposals than what a collection of individuals is capable of is how you can consistently beat your competitors. And that starts by developing a winning culture.
Organizational development is vital for increasing your win rate
If you want to win consistently you'll need to develop the right culture, skills, and habits throughout the organization in order for people to play their parts. It also means avoiding the bad ones. Some people, maybe some in your organization, have preconceptions that can destroy your company's win rate. This is important, since winning benefits everybody in the organization. Jobs are created and opportunities for growth are provided that the organization wouldn't be able to provide otherwise.
Winning business pursuits and proposals should not be something that people have to do, but something that they get to do. Besides, the people working proposals sometimes have as much ability to change their company as the CEO.
Organizational development requires paying attention to staff development
It starts with hiring the right staff. We've developed an assessment tool to help you hire great proposal writers. But for every proposal specialist working on a bid, you probably have several people who aren't specialists, and you still need to get the most out of them because their contributions are vital for winning. Because proposal writing is related to marketing and sales, sometimes it can be difficult to get technical staff and subject matter experts to fully participate.
If you are a proposal specialist, then here are six subjects to learn about that can help you write better proposals.
Congratulations, you're an executive!
When you have profit and loss responsibility (P&L), growth becomes vital. Here are 21 tips for new executives with business development responsibilities that they didn't teach you before you got the job. If that's too much for you, just focus on doing this one thing to win more business. If you want to get the most out of your resources, here are nine things your proposal team can't decide without your help and a couple of character traits you might want to cultivate if you care about winning. And before you pick your next proposal manager, here's how to know if someone's ready for the job.
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Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY.
The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is an expert at winning in writing. He is a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant.
In addition, the groups Carl moderates on LinkedIn provide a place for tens of thousands of business development and proposal professionals to discuss best practices and network.
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