Category Results for Proposal Doctor

How to escape from proposal scheduling hell

Dear Proposal Doctor, I am in scheduling hell. Three proposal managers and a proposal coordinator have vacations planned in the next 2 months. All four need the time off, and all four have already postponed vacations in anticipation of upcoming RFPs (none of which arrived on schedule). Commercial and government customers alike plan to issue an RFP on a certain date and then encounter roadblocks that result in delays of up to a year. How can I plan effectively and still give my staff the time off that they need? -Struggling with Scheduling Dear Struggling, Thanks for your excellent question. In all honesty, this is why I am thrilled to be a single practitioner again and not a manager. There is no silver bullet or easy solution to your problem, which is headache-making for managers in this business. My approach is radical and it might not work for everyone—before you...

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Beyond proposal burnout – what to do?

Dear Proposal Doctor, With only 2 weeks before a major proposal submittal, the key people on my team are in an advanced state of burn out. Some are sleeping on couches in the office rather than going home. Others come in to work not having slept at all. It’s impossible to move any deadlines and still get the proposal done, and it's going to be impossible to meet the deadlines given the level of exhaustion. Because of multiple proposal extensions, this situation has been intensifying for the last 3 weeks. It’s getting to me as well, since I am ultimately responsible for the final product. -Beyond Burnout Dear Beyond, Many proposal managers have been in your situation. Most fail to demonstrate what your team needs urgently at this moment: leadership. Understanding that you do not want to move any deadlines, you must realize that continuing on the current path is...

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Why show up if everyone else wants to run the proposal show? Ask the Proposal Doctor

Dear Proposal Doctor, All of a sudden, everyone on my team is obsessed with fonts and kerning and other aspects of desktop publishing. People who should be worried about the solution and the price are weighing in on the appearance of the document. Everyone has an opinion on the best color scheme, margins, headers, footers, and text boxes. Isn’t this my domain? Shouldn’t I have the final say on this? Why is everyone else trying to do my job? What is the point of my showing up for this proposal if everyone else wants to take control of these decisions? Feeling Powerless Dear Feeling, First, you are not powerless. One of my favorite quotations is from Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” You can – and should – do three things. First, as the proposal manager, it is fair that you ask for a...

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Focusing on proposal priorities, not on fires

Dear Proposal Doctor, How can I be sure that I am spending my time in the best way possible when I seem to spend all day responding to crises? If a company is about to jump off the team, I have to deal with that right away. If my best writer just landed in the hospital, I have to replace that person right away. If files are lost, I have to get to the root cause and fix our version control process. So many things happen in the course of the day. So many fires to put out. It’s hard to stay focused on what is truly important. Is there a methodology for organizing time on a proposal? The Fireman Dear Fireman, This is a great question, and a difficult one. We can’t manufacture more hours in the day, so allocation and best use of each hour is critical. Methodologies...

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