On-line training for 2021’s unique challenges

Last year when I wrote that federal contractors should prepare for the challenges of 2020 with training, I didn’t envision the types of challenges we have faced this year and will continue to face in 2021. However, I did get it right when I quoted Harvard Business Review that “The future of learning is three ‘justs’: just enough, just-in-time, and just-for-me. It means that training is going to have to be just as agile as the workforce—where speed, flexibility, and innovation are key.”

Lohfeld Consulting Group’s training program continues to reflect the three “justs.” As we enter 2021 with some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, training is more important than ever.

Just enough: When we reinvented our in-person training to convert it to on-line virtual content, we recognized that an all-day 8-hour class was not going to work. Students best receive and absorb on-line content in smaller chunks. We converted our full-day classes to more easily digested individual modules delivered over 3 to 4 days. For example, our flagship Strength-Based Winning™ class includes three virtual modules, each 3–4 hours long to engage students through a range of Strength-Based Solutioning™, Capture, Writing, and Proposal Review discussions; polling; and hands-on activities. Plenty of interaction keeps students engaged and focused.

Just-in-time: Training must prepare employees for the next era of work. That means leaving behind old ways of business development to accommodate a hybrid workforce where some may be in the office and some working from home. Taking our updated Capture Management for Federal Contractors on-line class is a great way to learn the skills you need to access customers and win business in a rapidly changing environment. Students gain the agility needed for 2021 shifts, including the transition to a new administration.

Just-in-time also means modernizing proposal writing to reach busy federal customers and government proposal evaluators. These evaluators search for content tied to their assigned factor(s) and often quickly skim and scan the proposal for relevant narrative to read. Just-in-time, Lohfeld Consulting refreshed our proposal writing class. Modern Proposal Writing includes innovative content that teaches skills and techniques to grab and hold the evaluators’ attention with a well-articulated winning value proposition.

Just-for-me: Our public and private training is agile and flexible. Instructors offer both group and one-on-one feedback. Where appropriate, we use pre-class surveys to learn more about our students to better guide discussions and answer student questions more effectively. All Lohfeld Consulting training courses include case studies and real-world examples. Some companies request that we tailor courses to their line of business with “just-for-me” case studies and exercises. We also offer a fully tailored private class in Proposal Reviews for Federal Contractors that builds on the company’s solicitation, submitted proposal, and government debrief to improve color team review effectiveness.

The new year is a great time to gain professional certification. Send proposal staff to APMP Foundation Level Certification Training to prepare them for the exam. Our on-line training has a 100% success rate in teaching students how to pass the test.

Challenges ahead

By now, everyone is accustomed to using the many virtual platforms that increased in popularity from March 2020 onward. The big training challenge is continued employee engagement. Encourage your employees (or yourself) to keep cameras on to avoid the temptation to multi-task and thus waste the investment in training. While on-line training tends to be more cost-effective than in-person (just think of the cost avoidance in travel and food), it is still an expense.

Get the most from your training investment by pre-briefing employees that they should 1) participate in at least one discussion, 2) present at least one assigned activity to the class, and 3) report back to their team lead or boss on what they will now do differently as a result of the training. Challenge the students you send to training to stay engaged, and after the training challenge them to apply what they learned. The more students practice the skills taught, the more they will excel and contribute to your next win.

By Lisa Pafe, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, CPP APMP Fellow and PMI PMP

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals.
As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Go-to-Market Strategy, Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $135B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at 
www.lohfeldconsulting.com and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

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