We’re not talking about issues like poor grammar, overuse of jargon or clichés, or poorly constructed arguments. Those are the kinds of problems a review process will likely catch.
Instead, the problem is the assumption that the writing is as good as it gets, when it could be better in ways that lead to more sales, happier customers, fewer questions and complaints, and more.
This happens when writing isn’t a core business activity. Sure, all organizations produce written documents, at least sometimes, but the writing itself typically isn’t core to whatever service or product the business offers. As a result, writing tasks are foisted onto people whose primary job duties are something else and the writing is just a side task to get through as quickly as possible.
And if almost no one in the writing process has actual professional training or background in writing specifically, it becomes easy to assume that the quality of the writing is as good as it’s going to get. Stakeholders might assume it’s not feasible to improve because, again, the writing isn’t a core function for them. Or they may not realize the writing could be improved.
That’s a (faulty) assumption that can impose steep opportunity costs on an organization, costs that often go unnoticed or unchallenged because those involved don’t realize that better is possible.
Generic or academic training isn’t the solution, but business-specific writing training is.
What makes this situation even trickier is that certain kinds of writing courses won’t help. If the business sent its people to an academic institution or a generic online course, they might be able to solve grammar problems, but they won’t learn how to craft documents that produce better business outcomes for their specific organization.
Think about it: a well-crafted sales proposal or presentation will close more deals. A well-written technical document will result in fewer tech support calls and complaints. But academic and generic writing courses aren't designed around producing documents that are more compelling, persuasive, or effective in achieving specific goals. They're just designed to ensure you know where to put commas.
The good news is that it is possible to improve almost every aspect of a team's writing with training, practice, and determination.
Virtually everyone’s writing potential is higher than their current performance because writing is fundamentally a matter of skills development. Whether the professional is an engineer, a salesperson, or a project manager, they can learn to improve their writing and turn every document into an instrument that serves larger professional goals.
Achieving this requires dedicated, business-focused writing training. In fact, improving your team's writing is often low-hanging fruit in generating business outcomes that many may not realize are possible. In fact, thanks to the immediate benefits that can result, business-oriented writing instruction often pays for itself by multiples.