Extra Edition / Business Management

Teach New Young Employees to Take Notes

Bruce Tulgan
Bruce Tulgan

“In one ear and out the other,” said a construction supervisor in a major real estate development company.

“I would say to this one guy over and over again, ‘The details really matter.’ He was nodding his head, but I couldn’t tell if he was nodding to me or nodding with the music he was listening to. So finally I started making him take notes whenever I talked to him.

“Since he didn’t have anything to write with but I noticed he was always on his cell phone texting, I told him, ‘Send yourself a text message.’ He focused on me like he never had before, texting into his phone the gist of what I was saying. Finally I said, ‘Send me a copy of that,’ and that’s how that started.

“Now he takes notes on his cell phone and sends a copy to me and to him. I print them out, and I’ll go back to him the next day, with his text message in hand, and it serves as a great reference. He usually grabs that sheet of paper, gives it a look-over, and tucks it in his back pocket. I see him checking it later as he’s going about his business. I think it helps him focus.

“Sometimes I take his text message and turn it into a checklist to use with all the guys. Checklists help them focus.”

Publication date: 8/6/2012

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