Suppose you’ve been asked to pull together this year’s Annual Report. You quite like the idea. It gets you valuable time with the Chief Executive, exposure to the heads of each business function and licence to enquire about opportunities for career progression. You can almost feel the satisfaction of producing a tangible output, increasingly rare unless you work in manufacturing.

But what are you actually being asked to do?

You are being asked to coordinate multiple contributors. The Annual Report, along with Year Books and corporate blogs require contributions from across the business. These people will not deliver on time. With the best will in the world, they all have better things to do – handle a HR issue, manage a global marketing campaign, deal with the auditors or procure a new IT system.

Coordinate means chasing

There’s not a whole lot more you can do but chase, except wait. Chase and wait. Repeat until deadline.

As the deadline arrives, the good news is that you’ve got most of the content. The bad news is the inconsistency of the tone of voice. The different writing styles make it sound like different people talking, rather than a single voice in your brand’s personality.

You can write the Annual Report but should you?

You’ll need to rewrite in parts, tweak throughout and correct the grammar as you go. Assuming you can write well and have time to spend on ‘pulling together the Annual Report’.

So when approached, don’t fall into the trap of believing multiple contributors will spread the work. Agree, in the knowledge that you’ll need to bring a writer in who will share your workload. One who is adept at coordinating contributors and managing projects through the publishing process, to deliver on time and to budget. That’s me.

But what do you think?