Why Write Down Your Ideas?Written by Robert F. Abbott
Whether you're a manager, professional, or entrepreneur you need to think ahead. When you do it in a formal sense, it's called it planning, when you do it informally it's something like speculating.
Whether you're planning or speculating, exercise represents just tip of iceberg. For plans or scenarios to amount to something, they have to be implemented. In turn, that usually involves other people.
Which takes us to subject of communication: How do you convert those ideas in your head into instructions or position papers or even real plans?
I recommend writing, as in sense of spending at least a few minutes to put ideas to paper. Several benefits come out of writing process:
First, you'll force yourself to clarify what you're doing and what you want others to do. As long as an idea remains in our heads, it's not made accountable, so to speak. We don't subject our ideas to rigorous scrutiny when they're just thoughts.
But, when we write out an idea, strengths and weaknesses show up rather quickly; we force ourselves to look at idea more critically. When I wrote publishing plan for Abbott's Communication Letter, for example, writing process uncovered many key issues.
But, writing it down assumes even greater importance when we need to communicate with others. Since most thoughts for future are inherently complex or uncertain, a written version of your plan enables you to explain much more.
As you've probably noticed, you can't really deal with much complexity verbally, unless you're making a speech or presentation. In face-to-face communication, for example, a train of thought often gets derailed by questions or interjections by other person.
Communicating CEOsWritten by Robert F. Abbott
I see a PR firm has done a survey on amount of time Canadian CEOs spend on communication, and found they spend almost half of their time on communication.
I think we're supposed to be impressed that CEOs spend that much time on communication. But, quite frankly, what else does a CEO do? And, if you consider both direct and indirect communication, wouldn't that be more like 90%?
So, what do CEOs do, and how much of that involves communication of one kind or another?
Well, they make decisions. But before they make them, good CEOs get information from specialists in their organization. They also may check other options by reading newspapers and magazines, attending conferences, and talking to their peers. All of which involve communication.
For example, let's say a CEO must decide whether or not to launch an important new product line. Before she makes that decision, our CEO will have had discussions with, and reports from, senior members of sales department. She will also consider country's economic outlook in coming months and years, talk to others about what competitors might do, and review financial implications with VP of corporate finance.
It's all about gathering, distilling, and transmitting information: what we call communication.
Turning to another CEO function, what about envisioning a new future for organization and developing a strategy based on it? Again, communication can't be taken out of mix.
After all, you can't just pick a vision out of air. It's outcome of reflective thinking combined with information, knowledge, and insight. All of which come from communicating.