Strategies and tactics to bring your team to a win – Part 1: Forming

Recently we asked Lisa Pafe, Lohfeld Consulting Group Principal Consultant, to share her thoughts on the five stages of teamwork and how to jumpstart team performance…

The previous blog post provided five strategies to move proposal teams quickly out of the first two stages of team behavior (forming and storming) to norm and become high performing. These include:

  • Clarity
  • Communications
  • Coaching
  • Agility
  • Circumvention

As the proposal or capture manager, you need to take a directive role in the forming stages when clarity and communications are key, especially when you have team members with varying experiences and competencies. Strive to answer the following questions:

  • Why are we here? To win, but what does it mean to your company, to the project team, to future growth?
  • Who owns the team? Make it clear that you are in charge.
  • Who are these people? Explain roles and responsibilities.
  • How will we meet the schedule? Tight timeframes create stress. Explain the proposal schedule and how the team will meet it in detail, addressing people, processes, and tools.
  • How will we win? Define compliant and compelling, not once, but continuously in team meetings and one on one so each participant has a crystal clear understanding – as well as to build rapport.
  • Who should be on the team? Right size and go lean; most proposal teams are too big. Play favorites from your previous proposal experiences, and select the best and brightest participants.

During forming, people are often too shy to ask questions and too polite to raise issues, so one-on-one time is very important. Don’t just work with the team, but also circumvent it by communicating directly daily with each participant.

In our next post, Lisa discusses how to progress more quickly from storming to norming.

What strategies do you use to develop high-performing proposal teams? Send an email to me at with your suggestions!