Honesty in the proposal business is a slippery slope. Sure, we all tell the truth in our proposals. Don’t we? But think about how ripe the whole process is for dishonesty.
I think we all have a relationship with honesty and the proposal game. I think I’ve told this story before, but I remember the moment a marketing coordinator who worked for me realized that not all proposal competitions were fair. I could almost hear her heart sink in her chest. And frankly, I felt really bad and I wish we lived in a world where all proposal competitions were fair. But that’s simply not the world we live in.
Let’s face it, whenever you are taking actions to give yourself an unfair advantage over your competition…that’s dishonest.
In our industry, “pre selling the job” is seen as an essential tactic. Heck, SMPS promotes things like pre selling the job, developing a relationship with the client to sway things your way, etc. But these actions are tipping the scales in our favor, they are cheating. Cheating is dishonest, right?
And that’s just before we start working on the proposal. There is so much dishonest behavior you can rationalize during the proposal development process. Let’s bid the scope of work and just ask for a change order later. Here is the rationalization: that’s what we need to do to be competitive. That’s what the competition will do.
The video above discusses new research on dishonesty. It comes to the conclusion that most of us behave just a little bit dishonestly, but rationalize our actions because they benefit us. If you have a few minutes, check it out and ask yourself how honest you really are.
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