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The benefits of understanding dissenting perspectives

Build credibility you can wield to resolve conflict, muscle through roadblocks, and challenge teams to higher standards

In the business world, it's easy to rush our decisions and our conversations. How often have you been in meetings when people speak over one other, cutting in as ideas come to them? That level of intensity and quick thinking has benefits, but it can also lead to people only expressing their own thoughts instead of really understanding other perspectives in the room. Seth Godin advises us to identify the generous skeptics in our workplaces—those people offering an opinion who have insight into our field or into our personal performance—and listen to them instead of dismissing them. As we understand these other perspectives more completely, we build a rapport with the generous critic, and we make our own ideas more robust. There really isn't a downside, because as Godin points out, we always have time to ignore them later. The benefits of listening and understanding our colleagues' perspectives aren't limited to those...

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The single biggest communication problem – and how to fix it

You talked. They listened. Soon enough it becomes clear that you talked, and they did not hear you. As George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." Project and proposal teams are melting pots. With the globalization of business, we face physical distances, clashing time zones, and a variety of cultural differences. Teams are comprised of individuals of different genders, generations, and native languages. Studies have shown that people gravitate towards like-minded teammates, especially those with the same cultural background. The result is often that we fail to understand the words of those who we perceive as different. Today, teams have the ability to communicate in so many ways—in-person, phone, text, email, chat, social media, and Web meetings—yet somehow the message is still garbled. With both verbal and non-verbal cues lost in translation, what can we do to truly connect? Here are 5 ideas....

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“To outsource or not to outsource, that is the question”

Bob Lohfeld speaks at WashingtonExec Federal Acquisition Council for BD Professionals

Should companies outsource their business development functions in the federal market? Bob Lohfeld recently spoke to the WashingtonExec Federal Acquisition Council for Business Development Professionals along with fellow keynote speakers Kim Pack, Vice President, Wolf Den Associates and Patrick O’Reilly, Senior Advisor, SM&A. They advised participants to: Know the organization's objectives Include capture and proposal leaders in executive-level strategy meetings Involve outside consultants early in the process Read more...    

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Is price reasonableness really unreasonable?

Washington Technology Article

With so many IT and professional services contracts being awarded to the lowest priced offeror, you have to wonder if the government is worried about awarding contracts to firms whose prices are unreasonably low. As it turns out, in many procurements the government does not look for unreasonably low prices, and in some instances, is prohibited from doing so. In these procurements, low price has no floor. The rules for examining price reasonableness and cost realism are complex and generally not well understood by capture and proposal professionals, so I thought I would point out some of the more interesting aspects of these rules about how low you can go... Download and read Bob's latest article. Email your comments to me at RLohfeld@LohfeldConsulting.com. By Bob Lohfeld This article was originally published December 15, 2014 in WashingtonTechnology.com.    

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