The sign-off committee scourge

When was the last time a Pullitzer Prize for literature or the Miles Franklin award went to a committee of writers?

Scan a gallery of classic literature and you will struggle to find one example of a great book written by more than one person.  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Erica Smith, Barry Meadows, Boris Johnson, Harold Brown.  I don’t think so!

So why is it that companies, government enterprises and other corporate entitities believe they can create great communication by committee?  The scourge of modern communication is the sign-off process. 

Yes, I know it is necessary to check the facts and especially to check documents from a legal perspective.  But I rarely if ever observe a piece of writing that improves after it has gone through a committee propcess where every man and his dog gets to have his say or make her changes. 

I am convinced so much of this goes back to the fact that so many companies don’t have a clear grasp on the story they want to tell – and agreement on the way they want to tell it.  That’s called a communication strategy, in case you were wondering.  The committee’s probably working on it ...