Re: Re[2]: Effective business communications

Subject: Re: Re[2]: Effective business communications
From: Avi Jacobson <avi_jaco -at- NETVISION -dot- NET -dot- IL>
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 1997 16:56:35 +0300

Janet_Valade -at- systech -dot- com wrote:

[Managers with a need to apply red ink and half-joking suggestion that
drafts be submitted with enough pre-packaged mistakes to defuse that need,

> I'm kidding. Sort of. What I really mean is that there is a
> to spend hours polishing a document to perfection before passing it
> a person like this, hoping to have it so perfect that she won't make
> any changes. This may be hopeless. Some people believe that their
> job "requires" them to make changes; otherwise someone might think
> they aren't needed and downsize them. In this situation, it is
> perhaps better to pass un-polished documents to such persons and let
> them spend their hours polishing it up, rather than you spend your
> time polishing it only for them to mess it up anyway.

This is not always possible. Sometimes managers who suffer from neurotic
perfectionism will consistently respond to drafts -- no matter how
carefully prepared -- with a "Why are you showing me this when it's still
got all these mistakes" attitude -- and return them full of red ink. Such
managers suffer from a deadly combination of the need to apply red ink (in
order to justify their existence) and the need to demand perfect drafts (in
order to economize on their precious time and thus justify their

The natural reaction to such a manager is for the writer to strive at
perfection, regardless of the fact that the draft will inevitably come back
with liters of red ink and a reprimand.

Oh, I nearly forgot: some managers also suffer from a third malady: the
need to see a draft every five minutes (again -- surprise! -- in order to
justify their existence). Thus:

- You're damned if you submit an imperfect draft ("Why do I have
to waste time making corrections that are your job?"

- You're damned if you spend time and effort polishing the draft
("It's been nearly an hour since the last draft; are you working
or what?")

- You're damned if you manage to polish the draft in record time
("Look at all these corrections -- why can't you catch them all the
first time?")

Easy to see how this person became a manager, isn't it?

Avi Jacobson, email: avi_jaco -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il | When an idea is
Home Page (Israel): | wanting, a word | can always be found
Mirror Home Page (U.S.): | to take its place. | -- Goethe

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