Most proposals include people on the team who have little recent proposal experience and little or no training. Even if your company has invested in a traditional training program, the odds are that you will have people on your team who haven’t had the training. Embedding training into the proposal effort is the best way to ensure that everyone involved knows what they need to know and has the skills needed to complete their assignments.
Embedding training into the proposal requires having course materials on hand that are already developed and ready to use at the start of the proposal. And it can’t be just any course materials. They have to be organized according to the way you do proposals. The curriculum units have to be small enough to fit with a just-in-time model. You need 20-30 minute modules instead of half-day sessions. Most proposal managers don’t have existing course materials and just wing it by throwing together some PowerPoint, or positioning themselves as coaches when they don’t even have the time for PowerPoint.
When we created the MustWin Process, we found that it lent itself well to this approach. You can define exactly what needs to be done and what the deliverables are for each phase of activity. Now that our training curriculum has been developed, we’re seeing that the curriculum units can be bundled into the activity so that not only does each phase include an orientation briefing, but the orientation briefing is conducted using professional curriculum instead of just being a meeting.
The combination of process, training, and performance is powerful, but takes a lot of effort to implement. You can emulate our approach. For each phase of activity, define the specific action items and who is responsible for them. Then define the process deliverables (forms, checklists, templates, etc). Finally, add short (20-30 minutes) curriculum units mapped to the activities to ensure that every person tasked with a role or assignment has complete understanding regarding how to accomplish what is needed.
Good training should include exercises. However, when you embed training into performance, instead of hypothetical exercises you use the real RFP. When you do this, training becomes performance guidance and the outcome of the training includes finished proposal assignments.
Finally, do not forget to address quality assurance. The MustWin Process provides a methodology for Proposal Quality Validation. You can use training materials to ensure that participants understand what they need to do to pass their quality reviews as well as to prepare the reviewers and achieve more effective results.
When combined what you get is a definition for what to do, embedded training for how to do it, guided exercises/performance, and validation that what is produced is what it should be. It ensures that staff know what to do and how to do it. This approach constitutes a set of expectations regarding what the business unit will get from following the process, guidance for everyone involved, and quality assurance to ensure that the team gets it right.
Click here to find out more about the MustWin Process that is the foundation for how we integrate process, training, and performance.
Click here to find out more about the real world training we have started offering.
Click here to find out more about other innovative ways we apply our process to solving business development and proposal problems.