Exercise Understand Your Overall Writing Assignment

Consult Exhibit 1.1 (page 21) to refresh your memory as you determine which quadrant Brad's project is in.

Are the committee members likely to be on Brad's side? Can they do as he asks? How did you assess Brad's writing challenge?

Brad said, "Some members are on my side—they want what's best for the company. Some others aren't on my side, although they probably wouldn't see it that way. But I know that a couple of people are pretty entrenched in their views—and their view is that they want Jacksonville. There's no question that opening a new factory has wide acceptance in the company, but some people have preconceived ideas about which site is best.

"The committee has the resources it needs to do as I ask—we have the money, expertise, and time necessary to open a factory in Georgia; as committee members, each has the authority.

"That means that my report was going to be in the Easy quadrant when I considered some members of the committee, but that I needed to be persuasive for others. That gave me something to think about. As a Data Collector myself, I tend to be very matter-of-fact. I lay things out and expect a rational response. I recognized, however, that that approach wouldn't work in this case. I needed to be more persuasive than methodical."

How does your analysis compare to Brad's? Did you conclude that there was a mixed audience? Is it clear to you why, in some circumstances, a strong presentation of facts is not enough? As Brad recognized, preconceived opinions can be difficult to overcome. Don't assume that all people will make decisions based on rational factors. Do what Brad did: Analyze the situation objectively.

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