What is High-performing Proposal Development?

The best companies find ways to create high-performing proposal development.

According to Bob Lohfeld, the founder and president of the Lohfeld Consulting Group, Inc., too much proposal development is dysfunctional.  The bib/no bid decision is made at the last minute, little is known about the customer, and the company does not have a solution to the problem identified in the Request for Proposals.  Unfortunately, many small and large businesses function  in these ways, with predictable results.

As Lohfeld points out, there are seven key elements to high-performing proposal development:

  • Goal orientation:  superior products or services of value to the customer.
  • Management style:  participatory and non-authoritarian with a focus on teamwork and empowerment.
  • Process orientation:  improvement and flexibility to adapt to changing market demands.
  • Collaborative work environment:  trust, communications, the sharing of knowledge, and innovation.
  • Adaptive technology:  technology that extends human capabilities.
  • Training:  well-trained and well-educated employees who are engaged in continuous learning.
  • Work/life balance:  development efforts that help employees to balance work and life.

The first step in building a high-performing proposal development operation is to candidly assess your company using these criteria.  Then you should define the characteristics of your new proposal development operation and use a 12-month planning horizon to focus on what is easiest to change and what has the biggest payoff.

You should not try to change what cannot be modified.  Define your activities, due dates, and goals, and then measure the progress of your implementation plan.

If you take these steps around Lohfeld’s seven key points, you are very likely to improve your ability to develop competitive proposals.

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