What kind of Management Approach should You use in Proposal Development?

The kind of management approach you use in proposal development is very important because it will help determine how well the proposal team performs.

Too many companies use a top-down, mildly authoritarian process to develop proposals.  This might have worked in the past, but it is unsuited to today’s evolving business environment.  According to Bob Lohfeld, the founder and president of the Lohfeld Consulting Group, Inc., effective proposal development has these management characteristics:

  • An emphasis on the good of the organization and the value of each proposal team member.
  • Team members are empowered to make decisions and offer their advice, regardless of their titles.
  • Teamwork and a sharing of ideas.
  • Sound planning and work execution.
  • Strategic partnerships internally and externally to provide flexibility and needed resources.
  • A focus on innovation and creativity.
  • A focus on bringing out the best in people.

To understand the power of cooperation and collaboration and how it can be harnessed to proposal development, I recommend a very stimulating book – Dan Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams’s Wikinomics:  How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (2008).  This best seller has major implications for the way we develop proposals.

According to the authors, in the near future mass collaboration will be based on “individuals and companies employing widely distributed computational and communications technologies to achieve shared outcomes through loose voluntary associations.”  New kinds of businesses will emerge – ones that open their doors to the world; co-innovate with everyone, especially customers; share resources and ideas; and harness the power of mass collaboration to behave like truly global firms.  Wikinomics is based on four basic principles – openness, peer collaboration, sharing, and acting globally.

This vision of the future workplace has important implications for proposal development.  Let me point out just a few points for you to consider:

  • Proposal innovation will come from a wide range of sources, not just within the proposal team.
  • More proposals will be virtual efforts – people will be working on them all over the country, or the world.
  • Outsourcing will not simply become a way to reduce costs but to gain talent, knowledge, and innovation.
  • Proposal roles within proposal teams will become more overlapping, more collaborative, and more horizontal rather than vertical.

Try it!  This is a sound management approach to proposal development.

1 Comment

  1. Toni Lovergood
    June 4, 2012

    Very interesting points you have mentioned , thanks for putting up. “Custom is the great guide of human life.” by David Hume.


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