Saturday, March 21, 2015

Did I forget to mention that I changed jobs last month?

I am a secret - OK, not so secret - lover of spectacle, and have been known to attach Ultimate Importance to things that are, frankly, not all that important to many people.

An example of this occurred in a hotel room in Costa Mesa, California on Thursday, October 22, 2009. You weren't there, but I brought you there via the miracle of blogging.

And now our user conference has had its final sessions and its closing banquet. So, for all intents and purposes, my last duties as a product manager ended at 10:00 pm on Thursday, October 22, and I'm embarking on proposals duties.

To save you the effort of reading through the entire post, I'll just say that I found out late in the summer of 2009 that I'd be transitioning to Proposals, but I had several product management duties that I had to fulfill before I could transfer to Proposals full-time.

If you happened to see my recent update to my LinkedIn profile, you now know that I just revealed (several weeks after the fact) another job transition. If I were to go to the trouble of identifying a time when this transition was complete, it took place at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, February 4. Rather than sitting in a hotel room at the conclusion of a sumptuous banquet, I was sitting in an office cubicle at the completion (or, more technically, the transfer) of my final proposal.

I will not go into the details of the length of this transition, other than to say that it was shorter than my 2009 transition. Neither will I reveal the reason why I did not announce this transition until over a month later; suffice it to say that there was a good reason for this. And I will not reveal the internal corporate moves that resulted in this transition, other than to say that my job transition was one of several that occurred.

I will, however, note how I ended up in a position to be transitioned - because, unlike 2009, I had some role in shaping what happened to me.

When I rejoined Proposals in 2009, one of my first moves was to reactivate my lapsed membership in the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). I have derived a number of benefits from my APMP membership, some of which I've discussed in this blog. (Here are all blog posts that include the #apmp hashtag.) But in my case, one of the key benefits that I derived was the knowledge that much of the work for a proposal occurs long before the proposal is written.

Specifically, a proposal is (often enough) a response to a document called a Request for Proposal (RFP). While there are proposal writers and others who become engaged after the RFP is released, much of the work to respond to a proposal comes long before an RFP is ever issued. Companies try to influence the scope or content of the RFP. Even before this, they work to ensure that they have product offerings that can satisfy the needs of any potential RFP.

With all of this work, key proposal practitioners who illustrate the proposal development process place the majority of the work on the left side of the graph, before the RFP is issued. Now I would show one of the graphs that key proposal practitioners use, but they're all copyrighted. Therefore, I am going to display my own copyright-free version of the presales/proposal development process; I hope that this version doesn't violate any copyrights.

If you want to see an example of a REAL presales/proposal development process, go here.

After a few years of exposure to these kinds of things, this got me thinking - do I want to work on the right of the graph, or do I want to move over to the left side?

Now at first glance, it may seem ironic that the knowledge that I gained in the Association of Proposal Management Professionals would lead me to want to get a job outside of Proposals. But despite its name, the APMP is devoting more and more of its efforts to capture management and business development. For example, here's a press release that the APMP issued in June 2013:

APMP®, the global association of record for bid, capture and business development professionals announced the formation of its new Center for Business Development Excellence (CBDE), a community for senior-level BD professionals throughout the world, at last week’s Bid & Proposal Con 2013 in Atlanta, GA.

The CBDE is enabled by APMP’s merger with the Business Development Institute International, which provides the industry’s best research, benchmarking and education for sustainable results in winning business. The resulting CBDE offers organizational accreditation, knowledge management and best-practice guidance using fact-based research.

Perhaps some day the APMP will change its name to something that reflects its expanded mission.

And now that I've talked about this, I can also talk about something that I mentioned in a recent blog post.

I've mentioned [Colleen] Jolly in this blog several times (twice in 2014 alone, in September and November). Jolly's company, the 24 Hour Company, has done business with my own, and Jolly has also been personally inspirational (I'll talk more about that at a later time).

This "personal inspiration" occurred at last year's APMP Bid & Proposal Con in Chicago. My general rule at such conferences is to ensure that my primary purpose at the conference is to the company that sent me (MorphoTrak, Motorola, whoever). However, as long as that primary purpose is achieved, I'll certainly look for things that benefit me personally.

Bid & Proposal Con had several morning keynotes, and Jolly delivered one of them. She spoke about work and passion, including the times when one is working without passion. For example, Jolly started college as a computer science major because she felt it was what she was supposed to do, but she found that she had no passion for computer science and eventually changed her major.

At one point she used the phrase

Write your personal story

This is something that is...well, I guess you can say that it's strategic. Sometimes it's expressed as the standard job interview question "Where would you like to be in five years?" Of course, the implications of a "personal story" go well beyond career.

Then, toward the end of the keynote, Jolly used the phrase

Rewrite your story

I will not go into the specifics, but about three months after that keynote, I took the opportunity to start rewriting my story.

And nine months after that keynote, I started writing a new chapter...which, in a couple of months, will include time in a hotel room in Costa Mesa, California.

P.S. I never got around to the flying pigs story. I still owe that to you.
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