How to Write an Executive Memo

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Writing an Executive Memo

Your strategy professors have asked the English faculty to cover the executive memo, which you will use in your strategic management class, for two reasons: * The ability to write a short, informative, well-written memo like this will serve you well in your future careers. * Writing a good memo is difficult and requires practice. Students in past strategic management classes have had trouble with the guidelines you’ll see in the following paragraph. Please read this document carefully and be prepared to demonstrate your understanding during the next class session.

An executive memo is a short (no more than 500 words) internal document whose purpose is to make strategic recommendations to a company. The executive memo has 4 parts: the issue, the recommendation, the action plan, and the discussion of alternatives, in that order. When you write your executive memo, there are several important guidelines to keep in mind: * The memo is short, so every word should count. Don’t waste time giving the company information it already has (i.e., what the company does, how much it’s sold, etc.) * It’s important that you present the material in the order given here. This is not creative writing! * Everything in the memo should be connected to the issue at hand: the recommendation, the action plan, and the alternatives should all serve to resolve the issue. * Since the memo focuses on the issue, it is crucial that you state the issue clearly.

Starting your memo: the subject line
Make sure your subject line encapsulates the main issue of your memo.

Section 1: The Issue
* The memo should begin with a statement of the strategy problem you will address (i.e., you are defining the problem). This definition is key because it determines the direction which the rest of the memo will take. * It is vital to distinguish between observational information and the problem you want to solve. Be crystal clear and specific about...
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