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  • Writer's pictureIdeas at Dawn

What the Kansas City Chiefs taught me about proposals

Updated: Feb 3

I can relate almost anything back to proposals. If we think about football and proposals — there is an overlap in how the teams prep for their games and how my team prepares for our proposals. Think about it. They’ve set their playbook ahead of the game. They know exactly who’s doing what, when, where, and how before kick-off, guaranteeing no surprises.


meeting in conference room

The same is true in our industry. We have a kick-off meeting within a week of receiving the solicitation. It requires planning ahead of time. As in football, a good kick-off meeting inspires the team. A poor one demoralizes them. Proposal kick-offs should be three things:


  • Motivational

  • ​Informative

  • ​Directive 


And a well-planned kick-off should include these eight vital pieces to succeed:


  • A prepared agenda that allows the team to focus and get to work.

  • ​Solicitation – to make sure we miss no essential pieces of the puzzle.

  • Responsibility matrix – this clarifies who is doing what. It also helps us account for any schedule conflicts among the team.

  • ​Style guide prevents unnecessary back-and-forth edits and is a huge time saver.

  • ​Proposal schedule – everyone should get these critical dates on their calendars ASAP.

  • ​Matrices for relevant projects and personnel.

  • ​Proposal outline.

  • ​SWOT and PSOE – Our message is clear from the get-go.


An executed kick-off meeting should leave you with:


  • A team ready to take on their assignments, a proposal manager who can hand them off, and a team that can hit the ground running.


Are you organized in your kick-off meetings? Which piece of the puzzle is your strong suit, and where could you focus more attention? Let me know, and brag about yourself and your team. Or ask for help if you need a suggestion for streamlining.


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