Are You a Grant Proposal Warrior?

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    This posting by: Jayme Sokolow

    Ready to be a Warrior?

    At the 2012 APMP (Association of Proposal Management Professionals) national conference, participants were treated to a lively address … about proposal professionals as warriors, by Eric Gregory, Vice President for Business Development at CACI, Inc.

    I do not agree with his metaphor or with everything that he said, but Gregory is a thoughtful person, a very successful proposal professional, and someone who has contributed a great deal to the proposal profession. For these reasons, his remarks should be taken seriously.

    Although Gregory was addressing proposal professionals who work in companies submitting proposals primarily to federal agencies, his remarks also apply to proposal professionals working in nonprofit organizations who apply for grants from federal agencies.

    Gregory wondered whether successful proposal professionals have a certain personality or perspective on their work? He concluded that there are ten attributes to a proposal warrior – as follows:

    1. Courageous – a proposal professional performs well under difficult conditions, often by enduring criticisms, doubts, anger, disappointment, long hours of work, and difficult assignments.

    2. Committed – to working on a team and winning bids.

    3. Leader – leads by example and works at least as hard as anyone else on the team. As a leader, a proposal professional is an optimist and believes that his or her proposals can be improved.

    4. Decisive – thoughtful but always action-oriented.

    5. Agile –embraces change and reacts quickly when changes can improve a proposal.

    6. Creative – capable of developing new solutions to problems and finding new ways to win bids.

    7. Disciplined – very focused on winning bids and is relentless in taking action to achieve this goal.

    8. Compassionate – works hard to defend his or her work and the team along with the best interests of the organization.

    9. Intelligent – uses his or her intelligence to become more successful and create better proposals.

    10. Resilient – works well under stressful and difficult conditions.

    Gregory concluded his presentation by pointing out that proposal professionals often are underappreciated by their organizations. They must find ways to convey their value to senior management and make a strong case for their importance to their nonprofit’s success.

    What do you think about Gregory’s approach? Is he accurate? Are there any traits you would omit or add? Are you a grant proposal warrior?

    According to Dr. Heidi Grant Stevenson, a blogger for Psychology Today and the author of an intriguing new book, Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (2011), even very bright people often do not understand why they succeed or fail. Recent research on achievement shows that successful people reach their goals not because of any inborn traits or unusual intelligence but because of what they do inside and outside the workplace.

    Like Dr. Stevenson, Gregory believes that a certain set of attitude and behaviors are likely to lead to success. Although Dr. Stevenson’s list of successful traits does not exactly match Gregory’s list, there is a plenty of overlap.
    Dr. Jayme Sokolow, founder and president of The Development Source, Inc.,
    helps nonprofit organizations develop successful proposals to government agencies. Contact Jayme Sokolow.
    Look for Jayme’s ebook on Finding & Getting Federal Government Grants. It’s part of The Fundraising Series of ebooks
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