The first draft phenomena

You know what grinds my gears? Management Issues

Here is a weird trend I noticed lately: the first draft is not the first draft anymore. The first draft is the final version. Drives me crazy!

So this is what happens:

First people will tell you things like:

  • “Can you please quickly draft some ideas. Nothing big, just so we have a start for our conversation”
  • “Can you please send me a short list of things that we should include? Be careful, don’t make it science project.”
  • “Can you take a few minutes to draft a press release. I just want to see the direction you are going with this. Don’t spend to much time on it.”

Then you send the draft and all of a sudden you hear things like:

  • “Cool. I am going to present this in the MT meeting tomorrow.“
  • “Ok, sounds good I will send this to IT. They will build it.”

Noooooo! Noooooo! Noooo! This is not meant for that. 15min is not enough to come up with the whole thing. Stop treating it like the final thing.


The other equally annoying part is when people forget this is supposed to be a “quick thing” and start saying things like:

  • Why did you use this word?
  • Wouldn’t it be better to reverse these paragraphs?
  • Why didn’t you mention the other thing?

Grrr!! We just agreed this is going to be a conversation starter not the bloody “Declaration of Independence ”. Stop treating it like the final thing. Work with me. Don’t attack my 15 min work!

Key Learning Point

My advice?

1. Try not to treat your first draft like a … first draft, but as a proposal that will represent you going forward. At least this is what I am doing from now on.

2. Spend more time for your first draft and review it yourself a few times.

Just remember, in many cases, your first draft is the first impression. Whatever you present to your team will influence the discussion. It will be a huge brick to the foundation.

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