Step 6: Arrange the problem or the facts
After you have described the problem or the facts, you should go a step further and try to establish a reference to the topic of the company strategy or the profit target.
What exactly is meant by this? The receivers of memos are, as I said, usually the superiors. And they think strategically and profit-oriented (at least they should do that). Therefore, always show - as far as possible - how your proposal helps to achieve the company strategy or increase the profit.
Step 7: Name solution alternatives with advantages and disadvantages
Now follows the most exciting part for the receiver, namely the part where you submit your suggestions for solutions. Here are a few tips:
- Find meaningful terms for solution alternatives (for example, "minimal solution", "comfort solution" or "austerity package").
- Keep in mind that the alternatives are different.
- Limit the "solution space" - do not work out too many variants.
- Say what is needed to implement the solutions - in terms of time, money and personnel.
- Use a graphical representation (such as a decision tree) for explanation.
Step 8: Name the alternative of non-action
Frequently in the representation of solutions one possibility is overlooked: namely, to do nothing. Sometimes this can be a quite reasonable alternative. So tell what happens if the problem is not solved. Enter the advantages and disadvantages of non-trading.
Working with scenarios and categories
It may also be useful to design scenarios ("best case", "worst case"), that is, to predict how a problem or issue will evolve if nothing is done.
Therefore, as a reminder, the recipient of your memo reads your text very differently if he or she knows that something is to be decided. Therefore, in the first part of this article, I have already recommended that you use various categories, such as "Take note", "Decide to ...", "Conduct conversation" or "Initiate action".
It follows almost by itself: If you Memorandum is longer, you should summarize key statements in (actively formulated) subheadings. Also, write a summary ("executive summary") that precedes your remarks.
Step 9: Make a recommendation and name the next step
In conclusion, your judgment is required. Facilitate the decision by choosing an alternative. Justify your opinion with coherent arguments and examples.
Your own point of view
If you can not clearly decide on a solution, or if other departments or colleagues may be of the opposite opinion, then for the sake of fairness, all points of view.
In order to speed up the decision-making and the implementation process, you should also clarify what is to be done in the next step from who until when. Finally, give an outlook:
What does the "final state" look like? For example: "If we manage to implement the new distribution system by the end of 2011, then we will be able to increase our market share by 30 percent."
Step 10: Correct your memo
As with letters, eMails and other types of text as well, is the last step to be corrected, again in terms of content, spelling, punctuation, style, comprehensibility and form. Now ask yourself the most important question:
Does my memo make it easier for the recipient to decide or understand? If you can answer yes, you may circulate your memo. If in doubt, you need to lend a hand again.
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