The headline memo: And how it stops time wasters
What can you do get people to come to the point and stop wasting time? Your time, my time, the company's time.
Try limiting all internal communication to a one-page memo, with a headline that conveys the benefits.
That's how they do it at Semco, the company run by Ricardo Semler that has inspired innovators like 37signals.
In Semler's book, he writes: "If you really want someone to evaluate a project’s chances, give them but a single page to do it — and make them write a headline that gets to the point, as in a newspaper. There’s no mistaking the conclusion of a memo that begins: “New Toaster Will Sell 20,000 Units for $2 Million Profit.”
This philosophy's been adapted by 37signals. They say it has reduced unnecessary paperwork, and helped avoid meetings that were often needed to clarify ambiguous memos. "Concision is worth the investment. The longer the message, the greater the chance of misinterpretation."
One-page memos take some practise. Employees at 37signals sometimes had to rewrite them five or ten times before managing to synthesize their thoughts. This wouldn’t have surprised Mark Twain, who once apologized for writing a long letter because he didn’t have time to write a short one.
Posted by Julie Power, editor, Internet Marketing Report, www.eIMR.blogspot.com