I just stumbled across this.
Spielberg: “I need some music for my dinosaur movie.”
JOHN WILLIAMS gave him THIS. pic.twitter.com/uWYdSHlH8z
— Michael Warburton (@MichaelWarbur17) August 27, 2023
My first thought? Orchestras give me hope for humankind: A bunch of people with different skills, personalities, and backgrounds come together to create something beautiful and coherent.
My second thought? Proposal teams are just like orchestras.
Orchestras don’t work without direction: They have a conductor. Proposal teams have a proposal manager.
Orchestras don’t improvise: They have a musical score. Proposal teams have outlines, storyboards (of whatever ilk), and writing guidelines.
Orchestras aren’t made up of interchangeable people-units: Each player has a role, and knows it. Proposal teams are made up of people with specific expertise, and given clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
Orchestras don’t wing it: They practice and practice and practice to achieve that “out of many, one” performance. Proposal teams . . . oh, oh. Proposal teams don’t practice.
But they could.
If your company does regular proposals, the usual participants could practice once a week, say, or once a month, by running solo and group exercises:
- Setting schedules
- Setting outlines
- Drafting responses under time pressure, then evaluating them, then doing it again
- Brainstorming responses to sample questions in small groups, then evaluating them, then doing it again
- Developing graphics standards through trial and evaluation
- Presenting experience in compelling and easy-to-mark ways
- Gathering data to turn into information for the next proposal
Even after the RFP drops, teams could take a day (even two) at the outset to run these exercises.
Proposal teams COULD practice. Think what beautiful music they might make together if they did.