The Good Writer... (was Constructive Criticism)

Subject: The Good Writer... (was Constructive Criticism)
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 19:10:53 -0700

WARNING: Those losers with acute opinion distinction disorder (ODD) should not
read this message. Rather, seal yourself in and room whack yourself to death
with a wet cow tongue.

> How can we, as writers, editors, reviewers, etc., foster a more
> "constructive criticism oriented" workplace?

DO: Relax, be courteous, listen carefully, ask questions instead of answering
them, don't assume, be friendly, respect other people's work, respect
authority, respect your duties, be professional, focus on the solution not the
problem, anticipate changes, wash your hands after using the bathroom, eat more
fiber, tell your Mom you love her, etc.

DON'T: Assume you know more than the next person, offer answers to questions
that were not asked, brow-beat people, rave, demand respect (you won't get it
if you demand it), criticize things you don't know about, focus on the problem,
blame people, complain about "the process", assume you have no control, whine
to management, be inflexible, assume your work is perfect, resist change,
resist authority, reject advice, trash people behind their backs, dismiss ideas
and solutions you disagree with, obsess over the mundane, lie, cheat, steal,
eat all the Zingers, pee in the sink, etc.

In my experience, writers who succeed and do good work see themselves as
providing a service to the organization, the customer/user, AND their
co-workers. As such, they attempt to meet the needs of all three of those
entities. Sometimes agendas conflict. Good writers can reconcile multiple
agendas to meet everyone's needs. A good writer constantly strives to do things
better, faster, and more effectively. A good writer leads by example, not by
decree. A good writer sees strength in dynamic, evolving environments.

Bad writers see themselves as "the lone becon of truth in a sea of poor
communication." Bad writers feel they serve the user only, ignoring the needs
of the company, engineering or management. Bad writers feel they have some
unique gift that everyone else lacks. Bad writers are stubborn, unrelenting,
and single-minded. They fail to comprehend issues from strategic AND tactical
perspectives. They prefer to complain about how things are not done correctly
rather then striving to make things better. A bad writer leads by tradition and
command. A bad writer sees strength in rigid, unchanged environments.

Mostly, good writers understand the difference between these questions:

"Why did you do that?"
"Why is this done that way?"

The fact is, you want to foster a better work place? Well guess where it
starts? With you. Treat people the way you want to be treated. If you don't
like engineers sticking their noses into your work, then don't stick your nose
into their work. If you don't want advice, don't dish it out when it is not
requested. If you want to foster honest, constructive criticism, then provide
it in a professional and respectful manner.

Remember: Just because YOU don't like something does not mean it is wrong. You
are but one person and your ideas, as solid and as correct as they may seem,
might not be the best.

Now back to talking about me...

otalP werdnA
tuatlusnoC lapicnirP / tnediserP
.cnI, gnitlusnoC naitinA

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