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August 29, 2010


David Kay

"If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter." (Attributed to, well, just about everyone: Twain, Proust, Eliot, Jefferson, Pascal...)

I appreciate your taking on examples, rather than just giving advice. And isn't it easier to edit someone else's copy than our own?

Here's my cut at it. It's not quite half, depending on how you count, but it preserves (exposes?) a little of the music. Some word choices are idiosyncratic--I like "ground truth," but I have an intelligence community background, and that may not resonate with everyone.

If I had to cut further, I'd start losing steps. Five points would be better than six, anyhow, in the marketing conventional wisdom.



We improve our clients’ performance—people and systems alike. Our techniques are proven, our consultants are respected, and our clients gain measurable benefits.

Here’s how we do it:
1. Assess. What's not working? what's not making sense? Where are the opportunities?
2. Observe. Dive into day-to-day operations to learn the ground truth.
3. Recommend. Identify specific improvements.
4. Partner. Collaborate with administrators, physicians and front-line staff in problem-solving efforts.
5. Execute. Provide support and manage change during the implementation.
6. Follow up. Keep in ongoing contact to sustain success.


Leslie O'Flahavan

Thanks for your comments, David. I love your cut-by-half rewrite and I hate that it's better than mine! Your version has more life and energy. I think I got a little blinded by the challenge.

Cheryl Stephens


I have been doing this cut and rewrite for 20 years and I am generally satisfied with cutting 30%.


David Kay

It's always easier to bat clean-up! My action verb for each bullet format has the disadvantage that I can't do something as wonderful as your "3. Recommend improvements."

Of course, clear writing is only as good as the thoughts it is expressing. As someone who is rethinking our offerings, value proposition, and messaging for the first time since 2006 or so, I can tell you that even EWRITE's rewrite of my old website wouldn't be very good -- we just didn't have that stuff figured out then.

Ideally, if Blue Jay sees your crisp rewrite, they'll think, "wow, these points aren't nearly as important as these other ones," and the improvement will continue.

@Cheryl - I agree 30% is a wonderful place to land. But isn't Leslie's Big Hairy Audacious Goal an exciting place to start?

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