With more time, the report would be shorter, the powerpoint file smaller, and the strategic plan slimmer.
Not longer, bigger and thicker.
This is what Pascal would have said about business life. More or less what he said about writing a letter to a friend: “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
It’s hard to be concise. It’s easy to be long.
The trouble is that we have leant this like parrots with a out of work brain. So what we do is simplify by arithmetically cutting down, not reframing and re-saying in a better way.
The 10 bullet points, the executive summary and the five slides, are not necessarily a consequence of refined critical thinking, but often a reflection of the collective attention span, the epidemic of Executive (and Consultant) Attention Deficit Disorder.
The goal of shorter, smaller and slimmer is to exist because they are better. If not, then we are doing a poor service to the causes that those dossiers, powerpoint and plans sustain.
About one year ago, I wrote in these Daily Thoughts that ‘Nothing that requires to be pitched in an elevator, is worth pitching’. I stand by this.
Short, long, thin, thick, have whatever you want. But the question is quality. Short and quality, bingo. Short and incompetent, useless.
‘The ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, is here don’t judge intelligence by the one page bullet point.
Pascal would have agreed, had he had Powerpoint.