COVID-19 Edition of the Bid & Proposal Professional’s Survival Kit
Bids and proposals can be a tough profession, and particularly during these uncertain times, we may need a little extra motivation and support to help us through the chaos. I’ve updated my trusty Bid & Proposal Professional’s Survival Kit with some special items to help us get through these tough times. This is a great little kit you can put together to brighten a coworker’s day or to welcome a new coworker to the team. Simple and light, it is easy to mail or drop off on their doorstep. I have personally used a version of this survival kit in several office holiday gift exchanges. And if you’re needing just a little extra motivation yourself during these stressful times, I’ve included a few extra words of encouragement with each item below for this week’s blog post.
Marker: To remind you to leave a good mark—with your family, your community, your team, and with your customer. During this pandemic, many of us are balancing family life while working from home. In these times, family and community become our priorities. Mark time on your calendar to spend time with your family, call to check on those family members who are not in your household, and help out neighbors who might be in need. Everyone is dealing with added stress right now and helping others can boost your mood and relieve some of the anxiety you are experiencing.
Additionally, as bid and proposal professionals, we must take extra care to positively influence our teams, our coworkers, and our customers. It is critical for us to use this influence thoughtfully and conscientiously. Because many of us are working remotely, we should take extra care to check in with our teams and make sure we are setting them up for success. Check in not only with their progress, but also with their general wellbeing during these tough times. We must continue lead our teams with grace, help one another to be the best that we can be, and provide the best value to our customers as possible.
Sponge: To remind you to soak up new knowledge and continually learn. Our profession is continually evolving and growing. As bid and proposal professionals, we must strive to learn continuously, seeking out best practices and process evolutions. As new trends emerge, we must educate ourselves and understand the types of organizations that can best benefit from these tools, technologies, and processes. To be the best at what we do, we must continually learn, continually grow, and continually improve our skillsets and capabilities.
While we are stuck in isolation, many of us are finding extra hours in our day that we used to spend commuting or out socializing. Now is a great time to invest in your professional growth. Reach out to vendors and get a demo of some of the amazing proposal automation tools out there. Take advantage of the many free webinars that are being offered by APMP. Listen in to some of the wonderful business development and proposal podcasts that are out there. Leverage this extra time to learn and grow while keeping your mind off the added stressors we’re dealing with.
Eraser: To remind you that it’s okay to make mistakes—just remember to learn from them and move forward! We’re all human, and mistakes happen. We’re dealing with many uncertainties right now, and many of us are learning as we go. Balancing work and family obligations while constantly sharing the same space is a new challenge for many of us. Don’t dwell on mistakes or beat yourself up for making them. But remember to own up to your mistakes, recognize what you should change next time, and apply those lessons moving forward. And remember to apply the same forgiveness to those around you who are similarly adjusting to life in this “new normal.”
Animal Cookies: For when your proposal team seems untamable. Sometimes you may feel like your proposal team is out of control. SMEs may be MIA, writers may be at their wits end trying to write sections without SME input, and the price volume lead may be struggling to get the necessary quotes to compile the price. Reeling in these team members can be even more difficult when you are all working remotely with constant household distractions. Despite how out of control the situation may seem, remember to be the calming force throughout all this chaos—help provide the solutions to your team so that they can deliver the necessary components for the win. Be able to laugh at your situation but be vigilant in solving problems so your team can succeed.
Coffee: For those nights where you just end up burning the midnight oil. We put schedules together, we plan out the perfect scenarios, but frequently something out of our control happens (like a global pandemic turning our lives upside down), and we end up burning the midnight oil to make sure we meet the delivery schedule. Late proposals are losing proposals, and we all know we like to win. Coffee, or your choice of caffeinated beverage, will help you through it.
Rubber Band: To remind you to stay flexible. It’s so important to stay flexible in our profession. RFPs will change: requirements are amended, proposals are extended, and our schedules are impacted. When global pandemics happen, we have to adjust to remote work and the challenges of managing remote team members. Being able to roll with the punches will save your sanity in the long run. When changes happen, adjust the plan, communicate the changes with the team, and move forward. Failure is not an option. You’ll get it done.
Paper Clips: To help you hold it together. Bids and proposals can be stressful. We face the challenge of dealing with team conflict; putting out fires on a daily basis; and adjusting to changes in the team, organization chart, and solution—all while keeping the team on track and on schedule. Adding the stress of a global pandemic and economic uncertainty can make this stress seem almost unbearable. Normally we tackle these daily challenges all while leading the team gracefully and holding it together. The paper clip is a reminder that you can handle this added stress and still hold it all together. It’s a reminder from me to you that you’ve got this. You’re strong and you’re capable. And you can lead your team to the win.
Bubble Gum: To remind you to stick with it and never give up. With all the challenges you’re facing right now—with life, with work, with your finances—you may want to give up. Remember to keep pushing forward—you will make it through even the toughest of challenges. You’ll learn from missteps, and continually get better moving forward. Just stick with it and don’t give up. You’ve got this!
There’s no doubt about it—bids and proposals are not easy. It takes a motivated, driven, and persevering individual to pursue such a profession—and these qualities will carry you through even these toughest of times. Hopefully this article—and similar resources out there—will give you that extra encouragement you need when you start to doubt yourself during these extra stressful times. Remember—you are strong, you are capable, and you will get through this. Cheers!
Written by Ashley Kayes, CP APMP
Senior Proposal Consultant, AOC Key Solutions, Inc. (KSI)LinkedIn