Writer’s Guidelines — Producing Desired Results Through Change

We welcome the submission of manuscripts offering practical ideas and information to help individuals and organizations prepare for, excel through, and excel through change.

Mission

Producing Desired Results Through Change helps individual leaders and managers to prepare for excel through and improve from change. This quarterly publication of Lawton Associates offers practical solutions to current workplace problems, discusses new approaches and innovative best practices in all areas of change management, and prompts readers to consider new models or ways of thinking and performing.

Our Audience

Our primary readers are individuals who hold positions as executives and managers in private-sector corporations, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations in the United States. In addition, readers include service providers such as consultants, coaches, trainers and speakers.

While most of our readers work in the private sector, many are employed by nonprofit organizations, governments and associations.

Manuscripts

Producing Desired Results Through Change publishes feature articles, tips and tools, book reviews, case studies, and profiles. Topics may include—but are not limited to—building resilience, communication, teamwork, leadership, change project management, change trends and forecasts, and the human impacts of change.

Content

Almost any topic that is of interest to individuals involved in or affected by organizational change might make a good article for Producing Desired Results Through Change. A few approaches that have proved successful:
  • Describe a model you've used, the steps involved, and what makes it effective or advice about using it so readers can easily decide where to use it.
  • Explain a new or popular theory or method (e.g., EI, AI, chaos theory) in practical terms so readers have the one or two page summary at their fingertips.
  • Explain a marketing method that has worked for you, with steps, resources, and caveats.

Articles must be original, unpublished works. Writers are asked to sign copyright forms.

Finished articles tend to be 500 and 1000 words long. We also include shorter one-column articles on topics of interest. We generally ask authors to write a little long, so it's best to submit between 600 and 1500 words for the first draft and let us edit for emphasis.

Getting an Assignment

We will review completed manuscripts but prefer that potential authors send us their suggested article outlines before writing or preliminary drafts. This helps us focus potential articles to our specific needs, and avoids repetition and wasted effort.

Outlines should summarize the main points of the article, as well as the evidence, potential sources and subtopics to be covered. Outlines or preliminary drafts can be sent via e-mail.

If your article idea is accepted, you will be sent a letter, copyright information, and appropriate deadlines.

Unsolicited completed manuscripts may be accepted, rejected or tentatively accepted pending satisfactory alterations and rewrites. Authors or their representatives will be notified if their articles are accepted.

Avoid promotional materials

Our readers expect articles that are unbiased, evenhanded and non-promotional in nature. As a result, Producing Desired Results Through Change does not dedicate full-length articles to any single, specific product. Doing so would be a disservice to our readers, who want several objective options for solving their workday problems.

Our desire to avoid self-promotional articles does not preclude us from accepting informative manuscripts from experts and knowledgeable practitioners in the field of management—such as executive, senior managers, consultants, vendors and service providers. We understand that such authors will be naturally inclined to write about the topics they are most familiar with—which may include their own products and services. However, to be accepted in Producing Desired Results Through Change, articles must be objective, offer advice that is broadly applicable and include information about competing products or services.

Items are chosen solely at the discretion of the editors, whose decisions are based on what they believe readers value most.

Manuscript criteria

Manuscripts have the best chance of being accepted for publication when they:
  • ...provide new, cutting-edge information. Our readers are savvy, knowledgeable professionals. They already know the basics; they look to us for advanced information. Good articles give readers information they did not otherwise possess.
  • ...are broadly applicable. Articles that deal with a situation or issue faced by most—or many—readers stand the best chance of making it into print.
  • ...are well focused. The best stories make one or two major points convincingly.
  • ...provide information from a number of sources. Some of the best stories quote many sources—both experts and practitioners—or discuss how several companies have approached the same problem. Case studies are acceptable, but they must offer information and insights that will be broadly applicable to other organizations.
  • ..quote knowledgeable, credible sources. Quotes can come from experts in the field who have some special knowledge of the topic being discussed. Quotes should be concise and should further the discussion of the main points of the story.
  • ...offer enough information. Articles must give readers enough information to come to a conclusion, take action or be able to intelligently conduct further research on the topic.
  • ...add significantly to the information already published in Producing Desired Results Through Change.
  • ...can be easily illustrated. Articles that are accompanied by charts, graphs or photos are more likely to be accepted and given favorable placement in the magazine.

Copyright

Producing Desired Results Through Change holds the copyright for material that it publishes. We provide authors with an electronic copy of the issue in which their article is published as well as a reprint of their article with the Producing Desired Results Through Change logo and contact information in Adobe Reader (pdf) format. Authors may copy these reprints for their own purposes—to send to clients, include as workshop handouts, or for posting on a business web site. There is no additional compensation other than the admiration of colleagues, and the gratitude of the editors. Material published in Producing Desired Results Through Change may not be published elsewhere, in whole or in part, without written permission of Lawton Associates.

Suggestions on writing style

  1. Write clearly and concisely. Use simple language; make your point in as few words as possible.
  2. Use the active voice, not the passive voice. For example, writing “it was decided” leaves questions in the readers’ minds. (Who decided?) Writing “Mr. Henry decided” is stronger and more informative.
  3. Define terms that may not be well-known. Avoid jargon and clichés that may confuse readers or send them running for the dictionary. On first mention, spell out abbreviations or acronyms. If in doubt, define.
  4. Make sure all direct quotes are accurate and are clearly attributed to a source. Be aware of what constitutes libel.
  5. Please follow these guidelines:
    • Do not bold or italicize text.
    • Do not use different type fonts within the same manuscript.
    • Do not indent text except to begin a new paragraph.
    • Do not capitalize text for emphasis or use quotes except around a direct quotation.
    • Do not use footnotes. Instead, attribute quotes and citations directly in the text.
    • Include subheadings--no more than one for every page and a half of text. Type them flush left with the margin. Capitalize only the first letter.
  6. Use subheads. Subheads can help you organize an article and can facilitate transitions from one idea to another. Type all headings flush left with the left-hand margin.
  7. Avoid writing academic-style papers with footnotes and numerous references to other publications. Such manuscripts are not appropriate for Producing Desired Results Through Change.
  8. If the manuscript contains substantial quotations from previously copyrighted material, the author must provide a letter of permission to reprint, obtained from the copyright holder or from the original author, if he or she is the copyright holder. This letter must be submitted along with the manuscript.
  9. Style: Manuscripts that work best tend to be very practical, emphasizing concrete things the reader can do with the information. A list of three to nine key points, steps, issues, or critical success factors helps the reader follow the author's reasoning easily. The writing style for this periodical is generally somewhat informal, conversational, collegial, rather than formal and professorial or very informal and chatty.
  10. Author information: We ask that each author give us a brief (50-75 words) biography of each author from which we can select the information for the end of the article. That information will always include the author's name, phone, web site, e-mail, and city where they are based. It may also include recent books published or area of specialty that helps provide credibility to their article.

Payment

Experts in the field, such as consultants, speakers, trainer, coaches, and executives, are not normally compensated for articles in which they share their expertise.

Format

Articles must be submitted in a standard word-processing format via e-mail or floppy disks. Please consult with a member of the editorial staff before submitting your article to be sure your manuscript will be compatible with our computer systems. Include one printed double-spaced copy of the article.

Charts and illustrations should be included at the end of the article or on a separate file. Simple graphics that illustrate a model or process are very effective in a newsletter. We generally do not use much standard clip art unless it illustrates the key points of the article.

Electronic versions of Producing Desired Results Through Change exhibits can accommodate only two colors--black and a second color. Relatively simple original exhibits accompanying manuscripts should be drawn in black ink or executed in the word processing software mentioned above. More complex computer-generated exhibits are best executed in Photoshop, or Adobe Illustrator. Manuscripts in "doc" (MSWord) or "rtf" (rich text), and graphics/photos in "jpg" or "tif" format, are our media preferences.

Final manuscript checklist

When writers submit a final manuscript they should also send:
  • Any sidebars. These are short, stand-alone items that appear in boxes next to the original story. These items offer information that is relevant and pertinent, but not central, to the main story.
  • Any relevant charts or graphics that help to illustrate the story. Let us know if photos or photo opportunities exist, and we will try to acquire the photos or arrange for a photographer to take the appropriate pictures. If interviewed sources are interested in possibly having a photo taken for the article, pass on this information to us with your manuscript.
  • The names, addresses and phone numbers of sources interviewed for the story. We will send each source a complimentary copy of the issue in which the article appears.
  • Biographical information. Include the name, address and telephone number of the author(s), as well as a short biography (title, organization and city).

Delivery

Queries and articles may be e-mailed to john@lawton-assoc.com.