Good writing helps demonstrate leadership skills. Company heads can
shape the future of their organizations and inspire employees.
Senior-level supervisors can explain complex sales or management
strategies. Midlevel managers can demonstrate or validate
leadership abilities to subordinates and supervisors. And any
employee who writes effectively will look better to the people who
may play a role in determining his or her future with the company.
For example, a well-written document can show readers that you
- understand all aspects of a problem and can clearly convey them
- understand how a problem affects various people and departments
- have thought about potential solutions and can explain the
- know which steps different people should take and when they
should take them.
Here are excerpts from a CEO's letter to employees, shareholders,
and clients, describing the positive results of his management
"To our employees, shareholders, and clients:
This last year was our finest, as 450,000 employees around the
world helped us post the strongest results in the company's
- Revenues rose 15 percent, to $89.8 billion, a record.
- Earnings increased 19 percent, to $11.3 billion; this is the
first time the company has broken the $10 billion mark in earnings
- Per-share earnings rose 22 percent.
- For the fourth consecutive year, our company was among
Fortune magazine's most admired American enterprises.
- Shareholders - including our active and retired employees who
own $17 billion of company stock in their savings and pension plans
- were rewarded with a 48 percent total return on each share of
We begin this new year completely focused on the customer,
energized by innovative e-commerce opportunities, and poised to
move forward to levels of performance and growth unprecedented in
our company's history.
We thank you for all your support in helping make this future so
In an effort to justify his management approach, the writer uses
simple, compelling language and presents supporting data that
illustrates the results of his leadership. The financial figures
are stated simply (for example, revenues rose 15 percent,
earnings increased 19 percent), so most employees can easily
grasp them. Plus, phrases like strongest results in the
company's century-long history, energized by innovative e-commerce
opportunities, and levels of performance and growth
unprecedented in our company's history drive home a simple and
powerful message that credits all employees for the firm's success
and inspires them to do even better.
Note: This article is excerpted from
10 Steps to Successful Business Writing by Jack E. Appleman.
Jack E. Appleman is an award-winning writer with more than 20 years
of experience as a trainer, PR and communication professional, and
professor. As president of SG Communications, he conducts writing workshops that enable corporate employees at all levels to write more productively. He received his BA in communication from Ohio State University and his MS in journalism from Ohio University. Appleman earned the Certified Business Communicator designation from the Business Marketing Association. He is a past president of BMA's New Jersey chapter and serves as vice president of marketing for the northern New Jersey chapter of ASTD.
2010 ASTD, Alexandria, VA. All rights reserved.