Monday, March 29, 2010

MBA: The Executive Summary

Assignment for Professional Writing class w/comments and grade

To: Ed Davis, title?
From: Cody Swann, title?
Subject: Summary of Relational Work Skimpy, the subject line should better reflect the doc’s contents and the action required.

We’ve seen our employees work best when their work matches their interests. By recognizing our employees’ relational interests, we can utilize relational work to guide personnel choices, project assignments and career development. What is “relational work”? Guide your reader. And change won’t come just from “recognizing” relational interests, but by assessing and making assignments based on the four dimensions. Be specific.

Our identification of “team players” is too broad; it has created lopsided teams with blind spots and an under-appreciation of interpersonal differences and contributions. Transition? Relational work has four dimensions: influence, interpersonal facilitation, relational creativity and team leadership. Very choppy paragraph—plus are you claiming that your company specifically has a too broad definition of team players, or in general?

Influence-oriented people are skilled in persuasion, negotiation and the power of holding valuable information and ideas. Jobs in sales, marketing, negotiation and financial deal making attract these employees.

Interpersonal Facilitators focus on others' experiences and work behind the scenes to keep their colleagues committed so that projects don't get derailed. These employees recognize the best combinations of people for a project. Jobs in human relations resources attract these employees.

People strong in Relational Creativity forge connections with people through visual and verbal imagery. They use images and words to arouse emotions and create relationships with groups. Jobs in marketing, communications,

Don’t forget to include all the commas when separating 3+ items in a series: X, Y, and Z.

and public relations attract these employees.

Team Leaders need to interact with people frequently. They love managing high-energy teams in service environments and enjoy working with teams and customers. Jobs in sales, management of direct service delivery and marketing attract these employees.

Good summation of dimensions. But so what/who cares? Interpret these ideas for the reader. Why are they important? How will you use them? How do they work in your team orientation?

Are you now moving to how to hire people? This paragraph is purely descriptive, so seems to just repeat what you do in the numbered list above. Explain its purpose. Influence-oriented people usually have experience in elected leadership positions and maintain a strong professional network. Interpersonal Facilitators can explain the possible root of a hypothetical conflict between two people at work. People strong in Relational Creativity frequently give creative, offbeat answers to questions related to motivating other people. Team Leaders usually have a history of involvement with groups and will inspire others, even in conversation, to excel. Weak paragraphing, ¶ lacks a “paragraph head” (akin to a “topic sentence”). You need to let the reader know that you are summarizing ways to identify the relational dimension (such as during interviewing) in the paragraph, because as is the reader cannot put this information into context.

As leaders in our group, we don't have to possess all four dimensions of interpersonal work. But we must know where we stand on each in order to strengthen our weaknesses. Sense/clarity. If group leaders don’t need to possess all four why do they need to strengthen weak areas? If we know where we stand on each, we can assess the dimensions in our employees and potential employees.

We must account for the four relational dimensions when making hiring decisions, assigning people to teams and projects, recognizing and rewarding performance and developing relational abilities. Doing so will help keep projects and initiatives on track.

With that in mind, the leaders in our group should:
  • Take the analysis survey at to get a better understanding of where we stand on each of the four dimensions. 
  • Fill the gaps in our lopsided teams by conducting an informal audit of the available interpersonal talent pool. 
  • Reward employees by giving them tasks and projects that fit their strongest dimension Nicely done! 
Acting on these three items will help us get the most out our employees and help our employees get the most out of their positions, thus strengthening our competitive advantage. Great work in this conclusion statement!


You’ve done a good job of including “action items” at the close for your reader—how to apply relational work assessment to improve performance at the workplace. You’ve also done a good job of using formatting to break up the information into easy to digest sections, though I recommend including subheadings for rapid reading, also.
However, in terms of providing guidelines for your reader and leading her through your logic, your document is weak. The frontloading and paragraphing in the intro (¶2 in particular) of the Executive Summary are so-so. The paragraphing in ¶3 is also weak (as noted). Work on paragraph structure and using transitions (pp 50-59 in The Write Approach) to create logical build of your argument

You seem to repeat information about the four dimensions, not explaining how to use them or why they are in the summary. Work out how to present them to move your action forward so that you avoid redundancy.

While your expression is mostly active and direct, short paragraphs (need to be at least 3 sentences for topic-detail-conclusion) are sometimes too skimpy and imprecise (as well as choppy) to make a strong point. And watch out for sense/logic in your sentence construction—sometime you know what you mean, but your reader does not. Be as specific as possible.

B+ 178/200

blog comments powered by Disqus