The Writer’s proprietary Rewrite Bravery Leadership Correlation Index™
‘This company is an equal employment opportunity employer.’
That beautiful line is from the website of one of our big US clients. In workshops this week, we’ve been asking their people to rewrite a bit of the website which includes that line, to see if they can make it feel a bit more sincere.
And an interesting thing keeps happening. The more senior the workshop participant, the happier they are to junk that line and try something really different. Quite often people have suggested versions like ‘We want anyone who’s good enough to have the chance to work here’. Nice.
But many of the more junior participants don’t touch it. They might rewrite what’s around it, but they leave that phrase. When I ask why, they say ‘Well, that’s legal. We probably can’t change that.’ And, ‘I thought we had to say that?’
A few of the juniors do change it, though. They say, ‘It was awful. I completely rewrote it. Why do we have to use those lame words?’
Now, this is exactly the kind of minor skirmish we have with legal teams the whole time. While the company might be obliged to get across that content, it probably doesn’t have to use that tone. And at the very least, it’s worth challenging to find out the answer.
So why the junior/senior split? I’d guess there are two possibilities: maybe as you get more senior, you feel more confident questioning the status quo (in writing, and in every other aspect of business).
Or maybe it’s exactly that innate bravery that marks you out as a potential leader. Maybe the very few juniors who cut that phrase and start again will be the seniors of tomorrow. In which case, businesses can save a lot of money on ‘talent identification’ and psychometric testing, and just see which people go furthest in rewriting a paragraph from their website. Introducing The Writer’s proprietary Rewrite Bravery Leadership Correlation Index™.