Training = Low Cost ExperienceJun 02, 2022
I once saw a meme that defined experience as “something you gain the moment immediately after you needed it”. That makes the cost of experience directly proportional to the severity of the event that prompted the concession, and trust you me; you want the bill for experience to be as small as possible.
One of the main reasons why we conduct operational training in the military is to get experience at the lowest practical cost. Variations of refrains like “you fight like you train, so train like you are in the fight” and “the more you sweat in peace…” are well known, and appreciated by anyone who has gained experience under controlled training or simulations.
Not everyone trains to gain experience in saving a life (ok, if you are an ER doctor, EMT or First Responder please do!), but everyone should train to become proficient at, and eventually an expert in their field.
Summer break is fast approaching, and with it a usual lull in sales and proposal activity in response to Government solicitations. At least, the lull has a lower level of activity than that seen between the second week of August and the end of September; the “EOFY” for the US Government.
Why not use this lull to invest in proposal management proficiency training? How about some oral presentations training? Remember, it’s better to train and get additional experience before you need it.
No company needs to fail in a pursuit because the submitted proposal was one page over the page limit, or the “key personnel” resume for a candidate that meets 100% of the requirements did not perfectly answer the RFP requirements. It may be “motherhood and apple pie” - but these things still happen.
No capture or BD lead needs to experience a brain freeze or botch articulating a simple statement of fact when answering the questions of an oral board. Yet this can happen to the most loquacious (that was the SAT word for the blog) orator at the most inopportune time, which is called the “event horizon of experience”.
Training is a tool underused by many corporations, managers and yes; individuals. Baffling when you consider that most HR teams worth their salt carve out a training pool equivalent to 1% of corporate salaries for “continued education and training.” If a training course or 1:1 coaching session priced at $500 or even $1000 could save you or your team from making a mistake that could cause you to lose a $1M proposal bid, would that not be an easy call to make?
Don’t pass on the opportunity and let another year go by. If you wait until August, you will be in the thick of it wishing you could crank more compliant and compelling proposals with less effort - and you can learn to do that now. This is by far a better option than getting a “red” on a Task Order, SBIR, or IDIQ you needed to land.
Take a moment to discuss with your capture and proposal teammates, and use some of your summer “lull” time to improve your proficiency or get closer to being an expert at your capture and proposal craft. There are plenty of courses out there that you can take at your own pace, and at a price point that is still less than the last “customer dinner” the BD team sponsored at Ruth’s Chris.
Written by Nelson Santini
Nelson is a capture expert and business development specialist at Trident. This U.S. Navy veteran brings his proposal management and capture management expertise (shaping, call plans, competitor / teammate research, win theme development, black hats, and competitive assessments) to clients, in addition to hosting our webinars. Based near Atlanta, he supports clients around the world as part of our globally dispersed team.