05 February 2016

On writing skills at Deloitte and elsewhere

Now that he's had a couple of weeks to think about it, I wonder how Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global, is feeling about Lucy Kellaway's devastating article of 17 January entitled Deloitte chief’s new year memo is a classic in demotivation.

Here's a sampler of what Lucy had to say about Renjen's motivational new year memo to his staff:
  • Mr Renjen has composed something so ugly, so empty and so downright stupid, it is hard to go on laughing.
  • That its (Deloitte's) chief should talk such nonsense is a bit of a worry. Many of the people who work there are bright, yet anyone in possession of even a normal IQ could not fail to read the message and wonder what on earth they were doing working there.
  • Mr Renjen’s own resolution is “to deliver an exceptional, and consistent, global talent experience across the Deloitte network”.
  • There are three things wrong with this. First, it is full of all my worst words — experience and deliver and talent. Second, it is pure hype. No one can be exceptional all the time.
  • The email is signed — My best, Punit. Well, if that’s your best, Punit, I fear for you — and for your company.
As Lucy says, Deloitte “advises big companies, which pay vast amounts of money for its services” which means, of course, that a significant proportion of company's income derives directly from written reports. Two questions leap to mind:
  • Is this representative of what Renjen expects of his underlings?
  • If so, why don't Deloitte clients make the payment of fees subject to objective analysis of report content and writing quality?
I wonder if any of Deloitte's regional offices produced translations of their CEO's extraordinary memo? I'd be curious to see them if they did. I also pity the translators assigned to the task.

In my posts of 21 and 25 January, I mentioned companies that claim they can radically improve the writing skills of their clients' employees. Now consider these claims against the prestige, qualifications and pay scales of Deloitte consultants. The thought leaves me dumbfounded!

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After completing a BSc in physics and maths in Australia and extended travels in Africa I found a job in Paris that left me with considerab...