@ symbol against a plain background

Writing an Executive Email

I drafted the email it’s going up to our executives seeking endorsement of our latest randomised control trial. It’s one of many steps that we still need to take before we can proceed and it’ll probably be two months before we get secretary sign off (the final approval before we can begin preparing to go into the field).

This is on top of other regular research requirements, such as seeking ethics approval for our study.

The email today is going to our deputy secretary. As you can imagine, communicating effectively is paramount.

We get special training on how to write for social policy audiences when we first join public service. On top of that, I used behavioural insights principles (evidence from the behavioural and social sciences to influence behavioural change). We don’t start with a story as you might be more familiar with in a regular email. So we do not say: we want to do a trial to improve outcomes for disabled people, this is how we’re going to do it, this are the issues, please approve. Instead, we start off with a call to action and it’s just five short and sharp paragraphs with dot points.

  • Paragraph one: we’re seeking endorsement about our trial by this date.
  • Paragraph two: here are the benefits and impact of our trial for the disability community and the broader public.
  • Paragraph three: we’ve already received endorsement of the trial from our governance group. Here’s what we’re doing about ethics. Here’s what we’re doing about risk mitigation.
  • Paragraph four: we finally describe the trial in dot point. This is what we’re testing: X, Y, Z.
  • Paragraph 5: this is a list of all the other executives whom we are going to consult with to progress this trial. Please let us know if you’ve got any questions.

The rest of the day was liaising with stakeholders to keep other activities running on my other trials.

I also dealt with a changeover of staff. We’ve got different members of a team who will be taking over the quality control of analysis for our trial, so I had to get everyone up to speed on what we’re doing.

Then I reviewed the feedback that we received from our team on the message frames that we will be testing for our trial. I will revise that tomorrow. Once I’ve completed revisions, it will be packaged together along with the draft email I just described for executive approval.

The final task today was that we had a meeting about how we can incorporate equity and diversity as part of our learning and development programme for our team. I’ve been working with two colleagues on this for awhile. We’ve made a proposal to our director, which has already been approved. The meeting today was about how we can operationalise our recomendations, and how we see this being integrated into our policies, program of research, as well as in our research report templates, and how we can improve processes.

Life update: I went into the city to pick up a parcel. I left it to the second last day because I hadn’t felt comfortable travelling due to the pandemic. Turns out that the post office was closed down because of COVID-19. Apparently it’s been happening to quite a number of the post offices, even though this is a major one in the city.

Two posters on a glass door. The signs say Haymarket Post Office is temporarily closed until further notices and that a parcel hatch will be open 7.30am-12.30pm Monday to Friday
Haymarket Post Office

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