March 15, 2022

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The pandemic has accelerated companies' shift into the digital age. We have picked up new technologies at a faster pace and we’ve proven that remote work can work. But the foundations of high performing teams are the same as ever, with or without the latest technology.

Great communication is one of those foundational elements of high performing teams. It is the difference between a group of talented individuals and a well-oiled machine running full steam ahead.

Years ago, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos famously banned Powerpoint presentations in favor of brief memos. I think Bezos was really onto something.

A well written email is the most clear, concise way to communicate- whether it’s to emphasize priorities, raise an issue, propose a solution, or share a progress update.

It’s a bit funny to think that in our personal lives we’ve devolved from writing letters to texting emojis. Yet, these same technologies are making writing even more important in business settings.

Over the last two years, I’ve seen some folks struggle with a new greater emphasis on writing to be successful. Many were accustomed to long in-person meetings and water cooler chats to effectively communicate.

I really appreciate the way writing disciplines our thinking. To write a quality memo, you have to first think very clearly and carefully about what you want to communicate, and how best to transmit that message.

Sometimes people tell me “I’m not a good writer”. I encourage them to think differently. In the business world, we don’t need to write Shakespeare. In fact, good writing is usually 80% thinking then 20% writing. And we all know how to think.

In school, writing used to be considered one of the foundational skills that kids learned, but somewhere along the way, that has eroded. Yes, analytical, tech, and social skills still matter. But writing matters too, now more than ever.

That is why when Alliance is hiring, we value candidates who can write well. We’re not looking for poets, but they have to be clear and concise writers if they’re going to be real contributors.

The world has changed, but some old skills are timeless.

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