Leading When Your Write Stuff Gets Stuffed

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to better cope with critics of your writing. Reading time:3:11

         You worked hard writing a report. Now instead of a “thank you” or at least basking in the glow of an appreciative glance, your client/boss/team begin figuratively shooting your document full of holes, their red pens bleeding all over your margins in the wake of an editing eruption. On steroids.

       Your face is getting even redder as your blood pressure soars and you realize the critiques seem concerned more about your writing style than your thought process.

      You’re a wounded writer. And sometimes, leaders have to grin and bear it, especially if the critic is your customer –or your boss. Sometimes you have to swallow your pride for the good of the project.

      So what do you do when your write stuff gets stuffed? What do you do when your clients, colleagues and bosses assume their editor’s role and start ripping through your document — each slash of their pen like another knife piercing your heart.

     Relax. Take a deep breath. And smile when you remember the following apocryphal story that has soothed the editing lacerations of many wounded writers. Continue reading “Leading When Your Write Stuff Gets Stuffed”

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Writing S-l-o-w-l-y: Tracking Your Train of Thought

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your decision making process. Reading time: 4:24

          Of course you can text and tweet with the best of them. You have the fastest thumbs on executive row and you relish every opportunity to prove your digital dexterity –at your fingertips and in cyberspace. Whoa!  Hold on there Thumb Dumb.

        How sweet would your tweets be if you could use only one thumb?

      What if you then you had to stop every five keystrokes?

       What if you then had to take a two second break–before continuing your tweet –five strokes on, two seconds off?  No way you say.

           Now let’s up the ante. What if you had to write a status report –or even a book– with that same texting limitation –one thumb, 3 key strokes on 2 seconds off? No way, you say.

Hold On There Thumb Dumb

          Yet slowing down your tweets and text just might speed up your transition to the executive suite . After all, tweets  and texts are anathema to the most effective leadership thinking. At least if you consider the writing process our forefathers used to write the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States. With a quill pen. An ink well. And the forced intermittency to dip one in the other. S-L-O-W-L-Y.

        How would your leadership decision-making change if  you were forced to tweet and text more slowly?  Continue reading “Writing S-l-o-w-l-y: Tracking Your Train of Thought”

Give Your Problems Their Last ‘Writes’

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your problem solving skills. Reading time: 2:57.

           Two executives are tugging away at a vexing problem. It’s getting late in the day and both are frustrated. “What do you think?” says one. “Not sure,” responds the other. “Okay, here’s a way forward. She reaches into her purse and says: “Take two of these and call me in the morning.”

         Oh, what a headache! Both smiled at the two sharpened pencils. They knew those pencils would do what no aspirin could: help them think.

         After all, “writing is thinking on paper,”  as author William Zinsser notes in his book On Writing Well. Writing is proven method to organize your thoughts, establish your point of view, pose and defend your argument to make decisions and solve problems. Continue reading “Give Your Problems Their Last ‘Writes’”

Promoting Science Education 400 Words At A Time

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to persuade an initially disinterested audience.  

        I need your help. Here’s my challenge: use your persuasive skills to write a 400-800 word story/speech/scenario with enough entertainment flair and metaphorical clarity to engage a 10-year-old on some aspect of science from astronomy to zoology.

      See an example. Scroll down. Let’s do our part to promote science education.

         Today I am issuing a challenge to science and education bloggers in general and leadership bloggers in particular. Let’s embed with the Naked Scientist and make learning science cool the way the international award-winning London-based BBC radio program and podcast – The Naked Scientists-– does every week in “stripping science down to its bare essentials and promoting it to the general public.”

      That’s one of the key skills of a leader : to  engage others to listen to and act on something they had little or no interest in before.  And that’s why I need your help. After all, as leaders and bloggers you already have a penchant for the Write Stuff. Now let’s collectively use our writing, thinking and leading skills to help  recruit more future scientists.

     Here’s my challenge: Continue reading “Promoting Science Education 400 Words At A Time”

Billboarding Your Message Just In Time

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to assure your message is more easily digested. Reading time: 2:03

               Chances are you’ll be smiling a bit after reading the following little ditty.  Consider the way millions of motorists over some 40 years smiled at the innovative way the shaving cream company redefined roadside advertising beginning in the 1920s.

A peach looks good

With lots of fuzz

But no man’s a peach.

And never was.

Burma Shave.

              It was a lot more than just the catchy words that Burma Shave used on their 7,000 sets of billboards: it was how Burma Shave spaced their words on five or six sequentially placed billboards and paced their key messages a few words at time to make sure the passing motorists had enough time to read and digest its message before reaching and reading the next billboard.

              Burma Shave parsed its message a few words at time. A motorist could then easily read, understand and digest the message: “A peach looks good….with lots of fuzz etc.

              Continue reading “Billboarding Your Message Just In Time”