Weekly Highlights #10: Clouds, Memos, Change, Parks

Grateful for… gray days at the ocean.  I spent a few quiet minutes taking in this scene this week, and I really enjoy the calm and beauty of the waves on days like this.

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Overcast day on the Pacific

Experimenting with… memos.  Writing is becoming more fashionable, since being highlighted by Jeff Bezos and others who have worked at Amazon.  I participated in a work memo experiment recently: here are a few tips.

  • Take a top down perspective:  Whenever you are writing in a business context, lead with the key concept before explaining how the solution was determined.  This is a simple structural point, but essential for clear writing.
  • Frame the discussion:  Using a few simple phrases to guide individuals through the memo makes a huge difference.  Phrases like “This project has three parts…” or, “Second, we looked at the process in place”, can help the reader understand your narrative.
  • Think about the dialogue: As you write, consider your audience, their familiarity with the topic, and their point of view.  In a business situation, there will certainly be questions–ranging from simple to complex.  Write this dialogue into your memo so that the reader sees their questions being addressed.
  • Use visual design.  This sounds simple, but adding a heading, logo, and a few simple aesthetic elements can help the reader digest your information.

The best business book on writing I’ve read is The Pyramid Principle, by Barbara Minto.

Thinking about… change at workI’ll be thinking more about this over the next few days.  Two things on my mind:

  1. Change takes time.  We require time to absorb shifts in our lives.  As an individual, as a leader, I have to be careful to give myself the time and space to process change.
  2. Change takes motivation.  When we have an emotional connection to what we want to shift, change happens–even though it’s difficult.

Watching…  this set of videos, highlighted in Outside Magazine, of the national parks–particularly Haleakala National Park in Hawaii.

Have a great week!


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