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​Boredom Is Not an Option

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​I was this close … this close … to completing my latest blog post, a follow-up to last week’s about the service internal audit provides to its customers. But I kept having trouble getting it done.

Today, I sat working through what I thought would be the final attack on the beast, when it hit me.

I was boring myself.

There is an excellent piece of advice about writing that comes from essayist and psychotherapist Adam Phillips: “You just have to be able to notice when you are boring yourself.”

How many times have you gone back for the first (second, third, 12th, 57th) rewrite of a report, looked at the words on the screen, and just wanted to go join the marketing department rather than have to read it again?

It’s your product, your baby, the culmination of your hours of audit work, and you can’t stand to read the report.

Imagine how your clients — the ones who are going to be subjected to the results — feel when they see its massive bulk looming on the horizon.

And don’t try to tell me “It’s an audit report; of course it’s boring.” If you have a compelling story to tell, then the report should be compelling.

And if you don’t have a compelling story, then there are far more important and potentially disturbing questions that need to be asked. Why isn’t the story of your audit compelling? Are the findings not compelling? Then why are you reporting them? Are the overall results not compelling? Then what did you do wrong during the audit? And, if the audit itself is not compelling, then why did you do it in the first place?

Everything we do should be based on a certain amount of excitement — excitement about the subject, excitement about the results, excitement about being a part of the solution. And when that isn’t the case — when we bore ourselves with the reports we are writing — then we have to dig deep and find what is missing. 

I swear I’m going to finish the follow-up blog post that I couldn’t get done today because I believe there is something important that needs to be said. But I can’t guarantee it will excite you, just as I can’t guarantee this post, or prior posts, or any future posts will excite you. All I can do is make sure that they don’t bore me, with the hope that this means you will not be bored.

And all you can do is everything possible to ensure your next audit report is compelling enough to keep you interested and, with any luck, keep your clients excited about what it is you have to say.

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