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What’s Wrong With Your Point of View?

Every point of view involved in a proposal effort has value. But you probably don’t have them all covered. The points of view that you have and the ones that you don’t have a major impact on your ability to win. Do you as a person and as a company have the right perspective or do you need to learn to see things another way?

If you see things from the point of view of:

  1. An editor, you’ll try to win by eliminating mistakes instead of focusing on changing the win strategies.
  2. A salesman, you’ll own the customer relationship but may prefer to leave it up to someone else to do the proposal.
  3. An executive manager, you’ll try to minimize the resources that are required, only provide the ones that are readily available, and try to recycle as much as you can from past efforts.
  4. A middle manager, you’ll strive to submit the best possible proposal using the resources that are provided to you.
  5. A leader, you’ll ask two questions: “Is it worth doing?” and “What will it take to win?” You’ll place a higher priority on winning than on coloring within the lines (budgets, policies, etc.).
  6. The customer, you’ll focus on providing what they need to make their selection instead of simply describing your own company.
  7. The person responsible for final production, you’ll do everything possible to get started early and reduce the number of changes after it gets to you.
  8. A contracts specialist, you’ll most likely focus more on what you can’t say or do in the proposal and on anticipating problems after award, rather than on what you can do to win.
  9. A pricing specialist, you’ll want someone to tell you what the numbers are and you won’t want to have anything to do with the rest of the proposal.
  10. A subject matter expert, you can how things should be done, but they won’t necessarily add up to the reasons why the customer should select you. Since you know how the work should be done, you may put a higher priority on that instead of explicitly complying with what the customer has asked for.
  11. A proposal writer you'll focus on compliance and win themes, but your sections may lack depth unless someone else provides the customer insight and solution details. A lazy proposal writer will stop at being merely compliant with a little bit of beneficial sounding icing on the cake. Since proposal writers use facts as building blocks, they may not challenge or invent strong win strategies if they aren’t provided as input.
  12. An engineer, you will have a tendency to comply with the specifications, without describing why they matter.
  13. A project manager, you will tend to be reluctant to re-write the rules and think outside the box because you will be responsible for delivering.
Your role does not determine your point of view, but it often has more influence than we realize. What is your role and what do you want your point of view to be? What points of view need to collaborate to arrive at the right proposal?

When you talk to someone about proposal development, their responses will usually be influenced by their point of view. How many proposal recommendations start off with “make sure it’s free of typo’s?” How many of those recommendations were written by people with an editorial background or point of view? If the focus wasn’t on typo’s, was it on:

  • What you are proposing?
  • How the proposal looks?
  • Getting to know the customer?
  • Schedule discipline?
  • Compliance?
  • Process acceptance?
  • Beating the competition?
  • Gaming the evaluation criteria?
  • Whether the proposal “sells?”
  • Having the lowest price?
  • What will it take to win?
  • Whether the content has any “meat?”
  • Will it be profitable?
  • Should we even be bidding this?

When someone asks you, “What’s the most important thing about proposal development?” Your answer may betray your point of view. It’s good to have a point of view. But it’s even better to have an infinite sense of perspective. Does your proposal team have the right sense of perspective, or does it lean towards one particular point of view? has prepared step-by-step guidance for everyone involved in winning proposals

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By Carl Dickson, Founder of

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