Early in my career, I was trained by a general manager I worked for to always write it down. I use that same philosophy when working with my audiences as an employee retention speaker. Whenever you are out in a plant, on the hospital floor or wandering around the office you should have something with you to write on when you see issues that need to be addressed. That way, you can follow up for the people who have issues. If you want to build credibility, help clear obstacles out of their way by helping them deal with their issues. Too many leaders see things and make mental notes and then forget by the time they get back to their office.
When I work as an employee retention trainer and someone in a problem-solving group asks a question that I need to find an answer to, I write it down! My memory was never that great, and it’s worse now. Beyond that, when people see you writing it down, it sends the message that what they are saying matters. I go so far as to say, “Let me write that down so I can follow up for you and get you the answer.” What is even better is when you get back to them with the answer because so many leaders don’t!
The general manager that taught me this “trick” was loved by the people in the organization. They knew that if he wrote it down, he would get an answer for them. And he trained an army of leaders who did the same. The people felt special because someone was watching out for their needs and then getting them answers. It started out slow and a few people even joked about those of us who carried our little notebooks to write down issues when we spotted them. But what was noticed even more was that what we wrote down, we solved.
Before we knew it, there wasn’t a leader in the organization that didn’t have a little notebook to write down things they saw. The best part about it was that our credibility grew and as I tell people when working as an employee retention speaker, your credibility is part of the trust factor that keeps people loyal to you.
But times have changed and handheld devices have replaced paper in many cases. You can make a note on an iPhone just as well on a notebook. If it works for you…go for it. The key is to take what you write down and follow through on it. As for this employee retention speaker, I’ll stick with my little notebook!