The Rule of Seven

Posted by Dick Daniels on March 11th , 2012 in Center for Creative Leadership, Leadership Development

The Year Was 1919

William Strunk, Jr. wrote The Elements of Style. E.B. White was in the class that Strunk taught at Cornell University.  Forty-one years later White revised the work of his former professor.  It has been a standard reference for millions of students learning to communicate according to Professor Strunk's original criteria: "cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity."  He offered several rules of usage,  principles of composition, a few items on form, a list of words and expressions commonly misused, and a list of words often misspelled. 

Here is an example:  Sandy writes better than I...or is it me?  Sandy writes better than I (than I do...better than I write).

How about this principle of composition:  Omit needless words (p. 23).  The section goes on to say that vigorous writing is concise.  A sentence should contain no unnecessary words and a paragraph no unnecessary sentences.

Words are the currency of skilled leaders.  Your language choices become the investment in casting vision, giving direction, creating consensus, and building teams.  Words must be used correctly in the crafting of leadership ideas.  Fewer words.  The best words.

I hope this little reminder takes you further down the road of leading well...or is farther down the road :)