Missteps in Launching Proposals. The biggest Kickoff Meeting problem is invisible: not harnessing assembled brainpower. The Capture Manager brain is transmitting data into the other 29 brains in the room. Little to nothing comes out of those other brains! At one Kickoff Meeting an executive said to me, “You know what I wish, Carl. Look at them. I wish I could figure out a way to harness all these great brains in this room. We would have something then.” He saw the potentiality being squandered. Not doing intensive team brainstorming during kickoff leaves undisclosed the collective wisdom of the team. Is that one Capture Manager’s brain smarter than the collective wisdom of the other 29 brains in the Kickoff Meeting? How could it be?
Well, Think About It. The key executives, the know-the-ground capture person, the persuasive marketing people, the handpicked specialized-scope subcontractors, and finally the technically gifted subject matter experts, often 30 to 50 of them, are finally together for the very first time. Not one deliverable comes out of the Kickoff Meeting. That, by definition, is waste! Why not let the other 29 people have their say?
You see, I get 5 deliverables (one page each) from every Kickoff team. I make them stay much longer and mind map it. We spend the first full week after RFP release setting up the Kickoff Meeting and then conducting that for 3 full days. On the 7th evening after RFP release, you can ask any participant what are the 6 components of the technical approach, the 6 components of the management approach, the 6 main discriminators, and the 6 main themes. They will tell you. Also, if you ask any other participant the same questions, they will tell you the exact same thing verbatim. Those 5 sheets of paper give me the proposal’s configuration control items. With those, I start every bid with a group consensus of the collective wisdom and a single voice. That is a critical part of my Bid Launch Sequence® discussed in my website, CarlSelfe.com.