Exercise Select an Organizational Structure

Of the nine organizational structures detailed in Chapter Two (see page 26), five are useful to convey positive information. Given that Brad had stated that his recommendation is good news, he knew that he would select one of those five. As you review them, remember your goal: to persuade the executive committee to adopt your recommendation without further analysis.

1. chronology

2. category

3. PAR (problem [or opportunity]/action/results)

5. visual layout

Which structure do you think is best?

Each of the five structures would work; there is no one best solution. Consider how each alternative might be used:

1. If past history would be a useful predictor of future risk, it might make sense to use the chronology structure. However, given that Brad said risk factors such as fraud and theft defy prediction, this structure might be of limited value.

2. Listing the categories of risk might help Brad make his points.

3. PAR is always a good alternative when you need to be persuasive.

4. Q&A would allow Brad to highlight certain compelling points by posing carefully phrased questions.

5. The data summary might well be displayed using a visual layout. However, Brad wants his report to be only one page in length.

Based on the above analysis, most of us would have narrowed our alternatives to category, PAR, and Q&A. Did you?

Here's what Brad said: "I decided to use a combination. The summary statistics that I planned to attach would be organized by category. For the report itself, I decided to start with a PAR paragraph, followed by Q&A. I thought it would work well."

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