Joe GuthrieFavorite part of being a consultant?

I became a consultant because I like to frequently move from one project to another and take on new challenges; the nature of proposal consulting enables the ability to do this. Ultimately, we want our clients to win the work they are pursuing, so my favorite part is when I hear they are awarded their contracts, indicating that the efforts I put into their proposals contributed to their success.

What is the secret to managing a successful proposal?

Each proposal engagement presents a new set of dynamics and challenges that always keeps this work interesting. Two items I feel are necessary to successfully navigating these dynamics and overcoming challenges include:

  1. Clearly communicating the proposal process, schedule, and expectations to the proposal team, and gain buy-in/commitment; and
  2. Surrounding yourself with good people who have something at stake in winning the proposal, making sure you have the right people in the right roles.
Any tips for writing a winning proposal?

In addition to the items mentioned above:

  1. Engage the proposal team with capture activities prior to the release of the Final RFP/RFQ. This allows solutions and win themes to be communicated to writers, making for an easier transition to proposal writing.
  2. Follow the process. Each proposal stage is meant to engage stakeholders in different ways to make sure the solution is tailored to customer’s needs, is compliant, and compelling.
Biggest proposal pet peeve?

Not following the process. If you skip steps, you run the risk of not being compliant/compelling, and often rely on “heroic” efforts in the end to pull it all together.

Where was your last vacation and what was the highlight of the trip?

My family spent two weeks in Myrtle Beach this summer. The highlight of the first week was sharing a two-house complex with very close family friends; the highlight of the second week was having my oldest daughter, son-in-law, and “grandson in waiting” join us for a very relaxing week.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Teaching. In addition to proposal engagements I conduct a variety of corporate training courses, and am an Adjunct Professor at the University of Mary Washington.

If you could meet anyone in the world (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Those of you who know me know that I am a New England sports fan, so I would like to meet the owners of my favorites sports franchises (e.g., Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots; John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox) because they have applied many of the same principles I mentioned above to make these teams successful for a number of years. Plus, I might get to meet the people that have helped make them successful, like Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, David Ortiz, etc. :)