Why Diversity Matters on Proposal Teams

Proposal teams need people with diverse skill sets. They also need people who will work their way through new challenges, and not quit.  

Handy is not a word I ever applied to my father.  Self-reliant?  Sure.  Frugal?  Absolutely.  And so it was that this unhandy guy built fences and rock walls; wheel-barrowed dirt, sloped the surface for drainage, and sowed grass seed in three yards that I remember; and painted one side of the house each year, on a rotating four-year schedule.  He had a workshop, but it was his brother-in-law’s visits that saw repairs to the recalcitrant garage door opener and the balky small kitchen appliances.

My father—this unhandy but persistent guy—was fond of saying that by the time you’d learned how to do most house projects, you would probably never need to do them again.

I thought of him this week in Publishing Land, as I hacked my way through setting up my book with an automatic table of contents and index.  With more than twenty years in Proposal Land, I’ve never done that before.  We don’t use indexes in proposals and where an automatic table of contents is needed—and it often isn’t—there is someone else to do it.  In those cases, my job is to refrain from messing up the document that the someone else has set up.

This week, after many false starts and not a few periods of dangerously high blood pressure, I believe I have worked my way through this challenge, more or less correctly.  I now know more about setting up tables of contents and indexes than I will ever likely need to know again.  It’s a testament, maybe, to the power of persistence.  That, or an indication of how hard it can be to distinguish self-reliance from sheer stubbornness.

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