Way back in 2005 I wrote a post here telling the story of someone I knew who was having issues at work because her manager kept giving her more and more work, then getting upset with her for not completing any of it. I told her to write it all down, both the work and the supervisor's behavior, because it not only gave her something to show but was a great way to protect herself, in case someone tried to discipline her for not doing her work.

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I'm big on documentation. In my latest book Leadership Is/Isn't Easy (shameless plug), I share many stories that contain a reference to documentation, although most of it is geared towards leaders.

Why? Because, as Judge Judy used to say, "If it's not written down it doesn't exist".

If you want to discipline someone for continuous bad behavior and you haven't written it down, it doesn't exist.

If you've set goals for someone that they didn't reach and you didn't write it down, it doesn't exist.

If you explained something to someone you report to but they keep coming back to you about it and you never documented it, it doesn't exist.

If you've taught someone a procedure that they never seem to remember, and they're always bothering you because you didn't bother to write the procedure down, it doesn't exist.

I've always found it incredible that managers don't write notes down when they have meetings, or if they do they get back to their offices and never look at those notes again. Even if they do, they don't regularly keep them, and that's a shame.

I lead a lot of meetings and committees and I knew that the only way I would know what we'd discussed and what we were supposed to address the next time was to type up notes after the fact, trying to make sure I remembered anything extraneous that might have come up so that at the next meeting I could pass the notes out to everyone so they could all see where we left off.

I don't know that I can stress enough how important it is, not only for leaders but for everyone in any position in any business, to take notes, clean up the notes taken later on, and then store them away somewhere, either in a regular file or electronic file, which makes a lot more sense in today's world.

Maybe the video below will help: