Personal GEM # 6 Take Notes
Take notes, keep notes, lots of notes. Keep records, Be very organized. It takes time but the rewards are well worth the effort. If you do, you will avoid serious misunderstandings and possible lawsuits.
Take notes during important phone calls.
Jot down who said what. Take notes at lunches, on napkins if need be. Take notes during meetings, even those casual “by the water cooler” one-on-one meetings. Take notes of business or personal discussions on plane rides. Notes. Notes. Notes. Simply toss your notes into a box where they will be in chronological order, easily retrievable if needed to settle misunderstandings.
Memories are short. Recollections vary. Even with the best of intentions, everyone, including you, will not recall accurately what was actually agreed to.
If the agreement was fairly important, email or drop a note to the other person just confirming your understanding of what was agreed to. Example:
“Hi Joe, I want to be sure I recall correctly what we discussed at lunch today. What I understand is ……………………… If this is not your understanding, please get back to me on this right away, otherwise, I’ll proceed with the assumption this is our mutual understanding and agreement.”
As an entrepreneur, I made many deals. For every one, no matter how small, I kept notes. Several times disagreements later arose. On occasion, others started a legal proceeding against me—a lawsuit—but quickly dropped it when I presented my notes to them. Notes like the example above are legally binding. The other party’s signature is not required.
Believe it or not, in my entire career, including the nine businesses I developed, I have never been taken to court in a lawsuit or paid a penalty to settle a disagreement.
Never! Why? Notes have been a major factor. A major factor! I could tell you lots of stories.
Once while in the cellular business, I was in British Columbia for what was supposedly a business meeting with the President of B.C. Tel. As it turned out, I was across the conference table from him, his General manager plus four attorneys. The President of B.C. Tel accused me of misleading their cellular General Manager. They were obviously looking for a major financial settlement from me and my company. After their accusations were laid out, I simply slid across the table my confirming note to their GM about what he and I had agreed to during a phone call. After they read my notes, they pushed my notes back to me, thanked me for coming, apologized, and asked me to please enjoy my visit at their expense.
I am the only person John Wayne ever allowed to use his name on a business venture. We were business partners. After his death, when the
vultures surfaced and made ridiculous claims, there wasn’t any law suit or special settlement because everything was in writing and documented.
I urge you to take notes. It will save you lots of frustrations, time and money in the long run.