In my attempt to put structure around these blog posts (and to force myself to be a more active contributor to my own blog), I established a sort of schedule I attempt to follow: Monday for general thoughts, Wednesday for humorous pieces, and Friday for quick thoughts. I have arbitrarily defined quick thoughts as under 200 words.
Today I started three different "Friday" pieces. Each was relegated to the "Rough Drafts to be Used for Mondays' Posts" folder. Each was 400 words and counting.
Why do internal auditors find it impossible to get to the point? Why is our idea of an Executive Summary five pages long? Why do we think anyone wants 40+ page reports? Why do we believe we have anything worth saying that deserves an investment equal to the annotated version of War and Peace?
Here's my theory. You spend a lot of time doing audit work, you invest significant energy learning everything you can about an operation, and you expend foot-pounds of effort analyzing and probing and searching to determine how an operation can be made better.
The result? We want to share it all. Here's what we did and here's what we learned and here's what you should do and here's reams and reams about the reams and reams of work that was accomplished.
Here's the lesson: The results are important; few people care about the details.
(And look at that, I'm already at 239 words. Well, I'm breaking my self-imposed rule this Friday to make my point.)
It hurts to cut. We have a lot of valuable information and we want to share that valuable information. But we must ignore our natural urge to share and get to the point.
Just as I should have done for this post.
(And, at the risk of continuing to use too many words, my original draft of this post was just over 400 words. We can edit if we really want to. Small victories)