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When Writing One Document Spawns the Need to Write Another

2 min read

Just when you thought you were finished, you realize that the well-planned and well-executed document you’ve written may require you to write something else so that your gem has a setting. Perhaps you’ve just realized that your manager will need a short strategy statement to explain how you’re going to market the Big Idea in document A.

If that experience sounds familiar, try this bit of reframing:

“Wow, am I grateful that completing document A helped me realize now that I need document B! I can strategize that now, before someone asks me for it.”

Those moments are valuable insights that can help you think more strategically about your writing going forward. 


Business writing benefits from a strategic mindset

Don’t be concerned if you weren’t born imagining flow charts. Learning to think more strategically tends to be a lifetime task. Most of us only learn over time that when we clean the kitchen cabinets to a sheen, the kitchen paint job is likely to look suddenly dingy. One job spawns the need to do another job.


Here’s how to view the need for writing document B as a gift

Seeing document B suddenly looming on the horizon of your workday can generate a negative reaction for some. Reframing is the way out of that negative feeling into a bit of self-congratulation. 

  1. Enjoy knowing that you thought of the need for document B before your manager has even read document A. You are ahead of the game!

  2. Play out in your head the likely next three moves in the chess game of socializing an idea. If you can see them, you can prepare for them and even prevent some pushback. Score one for you!

  3. You can sketch your ideas for what you’ll need to write in document B while document A is still fresh in your mind, saving the time it takes to set everything else aside and think about, plan and draft a new document. You’re saving your own time. Nice work.


Get more strategic by coaching someone else in it

Commit to teaching direct reports how to see their unexpected document B’s emerging out of the mist of the unconsidered future. How do you do that? When they send you document A, ask if they’ve thought about how Manager Q is going to ask for an inevitable document B. 

After a few times hearing that question, they’ll stop feeling blindsided by the sudden realization of a need to write document B. And for you, quickly writing that strategic document B for your own work will have become second nature.

The only thing better than a win/win is a win/win/win.


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