Itzy Sabo

May 9, 2023

Does your Company have a Think-first Culture?

7 reasons to prioritise writing in your company culture:

  • Deeper work
  • Fewer meetings
  • Fewer interruptions
  • Increased productivity
  • Self-sufficient employees
  • High quality decision-making

These are achieved through: 
  • Clear, written communications.

Is your time valuable? So is everyone else's.
💡 Writing-centric organisations cultivate a consciousness that everyone's time is valuable.

By prioritising writing, you prioritise thinking.
Clarity — Requires you to think and organise your thoughts.
Consistency — Writing tells everyone *exactly* the same thing.
Thoroughness — Helps communicate while raising fewer questions.

Being a "writing-first" organisation does not mean writing-only.
But it does mean investing in the written word, wherever possible.
And I don't mean monosyllabic one-liners in Slack!

Writing-first organisations tend to look like this:

📆 Fewer meetings
  • Meetings are focused and productive. 
  • Meetings have written agendas and clear goals.
  • No meetings just for “status updates” that should be emails or group posts instead. 

💥 Fewer interruptions 
  • Read messages and documents at *your* convenience.
  • Give people documents instead of private lessons.
  • You don’t have to answer questions continually.
  • You don't have to wait constantly for answers.
  • Get all the pertinent information in one shot.

👩‍⚖️ Quality decisions
  • Decisions are based on thoughtful analyses and written arguments, rather than heat-of-the-moment emotions, or shoot-from-the-hip ideas.
  • Decisions are written down, along with the rationale behind them. This makes them easier to communicate clearly. (Some might not view that as a good thing, but this also enables decisions to be revisited later. Many times I have wracked my brains why a decision sounded good at the time.)

🤔 Deep Work
  • Fewer meetings + fewer interruptions → Deep Work
  • Deep work in a state of flow is where breakthroughs happen. Every interruption or switch of context requires another 20+ minutes of concentration just to get back in "the zone".

📄 Documented procedures 
  • Procedures are documented, and don't just exist in some people's heads.
  • Everything is searchable and discoverable.

🕺 Independent, self-sufficient employees
  • Well written and comprehensive documentation allows present and future employees to become more self-sufficient, quicker.
  • Knowledge is democratised across the organisation. This is a double-win, because anyone can contribute too.

Q: Why is this graph exponential and not linear?
A: Because of Aha! moments and breakthroughs that become more common as more people think more deeply, more often.

Things you can do today:

👉 When writing an email or document, consider:
  • How will this piece of writing be used? 
  • What questions might people ask?
  • What are the main takeaways? 
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What is the main goal? 

👉 If appropriate, share an online document in preference to writing everything in an email. 
  • Shared documents are easier to comment on. 
  • Additional participants can be added without having to forward them long email chains. 
  • New employees will automatically gain access.

👉 When scheduling a meeting, share its purpose and agenda.
👉 Reject meeting invitations that don't make these clear.

If you have influence over the systems you use:
👉 Use a shared knowledge management system, e.g. Notion, Nuclino, Confluence, ...

If you have influence over the hiring process:
👉 Test candidates' written communication skills during the recruiting process.

"Can you help me?"

Yes, my mission is to help clients to transform their engineering outcomes.
🤙 Contact me via my LinkedIn profile

Thank you for reading this far!

Comment, ask, suggest, clarify and especially correct me via this LinkedIn post.

About Itzy Sabo

👋 I'm Itzy Sabo, an Engineering Management Expert & Fractional CTO.

What if your engineers could deliver more business value, faster?