Write Things Down: a Simple (But Not Simplistic) Lesson

It's often the simplest changes that have the biggest and most sustainable impact for the long term.

By Chally Kacelnik

Something that’s rewarding for me in the work we do at LKS Quaero is when clients and program participants tell us something completely unexpected about what they’ve found beneficial in our work together. One piece of feedback we’ve been getting a bit lately really surprised me, because it’s such a simple thing that it’s not something I would have expected. However, it’s often the simplest changes that have the biggest and most sustainable impact for the long term.

What have these participants changed as a result of their work with us? They now write things down.

Now, “write things down” isn’t something we’ve gone about adding to an organisational current state analysis report or teaching in a leadership development program lately. But the more I thought about this, I realised that these participants were distilling a few different parts of our practice that I hadn’t quite linked together. (It’s a real gift to be able to exchange learning rather than assume it’ll go in one direction only, isn’t it?) We talk a lot about developing and documenting thinking using our program toolkit tools for planning, problem solving, process mapping, performance management, and more.

These participants are now:

  • Writing things down so that they can be better prepared for a task rather than winging it or assuming they’ll be able to remember all the information
  • Retaining information that they believe they might need at a later date – whether for identifying work health and safety trends or something that might turn into a major performance management issue
  • Gathering information from others or from systems in a more deliberate and useful way
  • Paying more attention to what’s happening in their teams and retaining that information – this might be about being able to give someone meaningful and accurate recognition for a job well done
  • Articulating and documenting corporate knowledge that sits with them so that it’s available for the organisation for the long term, not just inside their heads
  • Remembering the tasks they have to do, and holding themselves accountable for doing them

With the right tools in place, “write things down” is looking like a practice that’s simple, but not simplistic – and really very useful if you do it properly and consistently.

I’m glad to be learning fresh perspectives from course participants and clients while they learn from us – it’s that mutuality that keeps thinking fresh and applicable. It’s a lesson I’m glad to have, well, written down.

At LKS Quaero, we help people and organisations to get work done positively and productively. For more information, visit us at lksquaero.com or follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook.