Professional etiquette: I don't want to step on toes
August 25, 2013 8:21 PM Subscribe
I've been invited to sub-contract on a proposal by a friend/colleague who works for a larger firm that's putting in the bid. While my role would only be related to one specific piece of the overall project, I'm reading the draft of the whole proposal, and I think the document needs significant polishing. Can I tell my friend/colleague? How to approach it? Snowflakes ->
posted by dry white toast to Work & Money (5 answers total)
My colleague and I attended school together, and both worked for the agency that put out this call for proposals, I much more recently (she left 2-ish years ago, I only left very recently). I know the general field this proposal covers, but have particular skill with one subset, and that is the piece she invited me to work on as a sub-contractor.
She sent me the draft proposal on Friday. In addition to my area, I've been reviewing the overall proposal just to get a feel for what they're proposing and how my piece fits into it. I know the people who will be reviewing the proposals very well (ie I used to work for them specifically). The content of the proposal is fine, but the presentation...the best way to put it is that the writing comes off as in-experienced, which is not something you want in a proposal for a six figure, multi-stakeholder contract. To be blunt, it reads like it was written by a junior writer.
I reviewed proposals for this agency a few times, and reading it with my agency hat on, this would jump out at me as needing more polish. It's also not clear to me how much input into the proposal her superiors have had at this stage.
I feel like it could be mostly fixed by choosing some different words at key points. I suppose these jump out me because the jargon the agency uses is still fresh in my head. My sense is that my friend/colleague is putting the proposal together to present to her superiors at the firm. She's relatively new there and trying to establish herself there.
Anyhoo, my dilemma is that I want to give the project the best chance to succeed, and my familiarity with the agency is part of why they've invited me to participate, but I don't want to embarrass my friend or overstep my bounds in talking about pieces outside of my focus. This firm does proposals like this all the time, and this is pretty much my first go at it, at least on the submitting end.
Should I say something to her offline? Do I assume her superiors in her firm know what they're doing when it comes to submitting proposals and leave it be? Should I make detailed suggestions?
P.S. I checked about any conflict of interest issues with my bidding on work from a former employer and its kosher.