A Sinatra-Beatles face-off – what you can learn – Matthew Sherrington
Matthew Sherrington writes … A short while ago I was working with an organisation on reviewing their past strategic plan, to inform the next one. As a courtesy, they sent me the first draft of the plan they came up with.
My heart sank. It kicked off with an introduction that was meant to lay out the vision behind their mission, with a list highlighting their twelve strategic priorities. Hardly focused.
And then, a couple of dense paragraphs down, sign-posted by that unassuming, apologetic phrase, “in other words …”, there it was. The succinct encapsulation of all that had gone before. In language that made sense and spoke to me. It sounded good, almost inspiring (come on, it was the strategic plan, one step at a time … but almost).
What a relief. But what a shame. Because if I hadn’t had to read it for reasons of professional interest I’d never have got that far, never have got past the tortuous, convoluted, dense jargon-fest of committee-approved but impenetrable text that preceded it, that name-checked every conceivable strategic priority and satisfied every internal faction. But not me, the reader.
So next time you are tempted to write or utter “in other words”, stop. Stop Dead. You’re on the threshold of a breakthrough. You’ve got it, the crystal-clear synthesis of all you thought you needed to say, but now understand you don’t.
In other words, forget all that went before those three little words. The beautiful essence of what you want to say follows them, and is all people will need to hear.
Here the Beatles get to the point with 1962’s Love Me Do.
And here Frank Sinatra provides the exception that proves the rule with 1964’s Fly Me To the Moon
(originally, In Other Words).