Kickoff meetings are critical milestones that require careful core team planning followed by flawless execution. Good kickoff meetings inspire a team, poor ones can demoralize a team.
Be Prepared. Preparation ensures that your meeting is successful and productive. The meeting should motivate the team while giving each member information and specific tasks. Premature kickoff meetings only offer the illusion of progress and lead to rework and potentially a less responsive proposal.
While kickoff meetings range from carefully planned and executed large-team efforts to loosely structured teleconference calls, do not confuse your initial proposal planning meeting with a kickoff meeting. In many organizations, the event called the kickoff meeting is more of a proposal planning meeting, conducted in a conference call. The proposal kickoff meeting needs to actually put the proposal execution in motion—it goes beyond planning.
How do you prepare and facilitate a successful proposal kickoff meeting? Follow these guidelines:
- Allocate approximately 15% of the available proposal preparation time to core team planning prior to the formal proposal kickoff meeting
- Invite the right people—too many cooks in the kitchen spells disaster
- Prepare a complete but concise agenda
- Prepare a comprehensive kickoff package, including a compliance matrix, schedule, writers’ packages, and an outline in advance
- Review operational guidelines for proposal development and production
- Establish a leadership tone with clear accountability and expectations
- Establish ground rules for teamwork, communication, and expectations
While proposal kickoff meetings range from formal, well-orchestrated sessions to informal web-based meetings, following these guidelines will help the team be inspired and ready win.