Writing forces you to share the details behind the goals, the history, the context, the trade-offs.
This allows the employees to make consistent trade-offs. Micro-decisions that align to the plan.
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Agility comes from planning. Without plans, activities are just brownian motion. And you can’t have plans, especially shared plans, without writing.
Most business decks outlining a strategy are woefully inadequate for highlighting the rationale behind the proposal.
Decks focus on the take-aways and tactics. The details are lost and people will make up their stories to fill the space between the bullet points.
Guy Kawasaki, the head of marketing at Apple back in the 1980s, discovered the science behind pitching. He calls it the "10/20/30 Rule" and it's based on the principles of clarity and focus. He uses it in every presentation.
Narrative structure is the way forward in the modern meeting environment.
Amazon does things differently. At the start of each meeting, each participant reads a narratively-structured six-page memo. This memo doesn’t carry the writer’s name. In many cases, its creation is a team effort.
The idea is to create a study hall environment at the beginning of the meeting. Everyone sits in silence to read and absorb the ideas tucked away in the memo’s narrative. Then, they start the meeting in earnest by jumping straight into the discussion.
That’s the key difference that memo culture offers. Meetings no longer involve one person standing in front of a group and presenting a bunch of dry facts. Instead, participants extract context and meaning from the memo, as well as key data.
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