Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Getting the proposal writing skills to do the job...part two

Supported with an individual development plan these are all successful ways that help create an informed and skilled workforce. The BD-Institute’s Capability Maturity Model for Business Development (http://www.bd-institute.org/) is a long document, supported by many hours of research that shows that success results from better processes used consistently across a team.

Within smaller businesses though, it doesn’t always seem possible to put these processes in place due to time and budgetary constraints; and of course, in small businesses there isn’t usually the need for that level of process. But using some of the best practice that big businesses use is surely an advantage for small businesses too.

It also makes us re-think our earlier questions. Where would you get the skills to handle that increase in required knowledge? And how do you do it in a way that supports learners preferred methods of learning?

Ultimately we need to support proposal skills development within small business Learners are often motivated by doing and having to write a proposal to a strict deadline only increases that motivation, especially when there is new business involved. So we need ways that learners can get access to the information they need quickly and in an appropriate manner.

What is needed is a solution that provides a repository of knowledge that’s available in various forms – informal advice, resources to get you creating your proposal and indeed formal training.

There are knowledge banks of proposal information out there, that give you information. At the high level you can undertake a formal accreditation process with the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (http://www.apmp.org/). Members of this organisation are usually professional proposal managers, writers or proposal consultants, but it is an excellent professional support with an extensive knowledge base of proposal related content.

But for small businesses this level of information isn’t always appropriate. At Learn to Write Proposals (http://www.learntowriteproposals.com) we provide resources to get small businesses creating better proposals quicker through various means of knowledge transfer.

Your ideal situation should try and encompass elements of different solutions – external perspectives, internal experience and support for structured and informal learning.

Community-led informal learning is available to anyone who wishes to join the community through forums, blogs and twitter. Have a question? Then just ask. For the more theoretical learners we have a knowledge base of content accessible an online proposal and business writing guide whilst the pragmatists have access to tools and templates to get directly involved in the proposal creation process. There’s also an e-learning course with a certificate for those looking for a more formal learning path with a certificate for your training records.

There are other resources available online and offline of course, and no-one should ever underestimate the un-documented knowledge held within the collective experience of an organisation. But remember that your development is best served by multiple learning strategies, not just information retrieval related to one specific task.