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“Unless you wrote it down it did not happen”

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One of the lessons of good run companies is their governance processes. The larger and more dislocated the company’s people, the more important these processes typically become. While I am far from a fan of bureaucracy and structure, I’ve come to greatly realize the benefits of certan specific constructs and specific processes that can make life extraordinarily easier for everyone.

In business as in personal life it is easy for people to have selective memory and remember situations differently. Such selective memory is less vital in small companies as it is easy to resolve the matter by engaging the counterparts whom are typically close by and easily reachable. This is not the situation in large enterprises. More importantly, as companies seek to scale and grow exponentially, this possible misunderstanding creates strong mis-alignment and can produce highly negative outcomes.

How do you resolve this challenge? Agree to document it. 

Unless you wrote it down it did not happen

I’ve personally experienced the positive impact this has across both outliers of companies: Very large enterprises and extreme growth startups. Once you experience the before and after, you become a fan. I guarantee you!

How to document?

It’s simple to do: On every encounter where you have agreements or some form of decision, ensure that these are captured and shared following the encounter. It is as simple as writing a quick summary email. Agree that if your counterparts disagree to modify the verbage in the email, possibly jump on a call to clarify and rewrite the decsion document.

The documents you create will serve you going forward. You’ll be able to refer back to them, share them with new entrants to the dialogue, and rely on them for insights and learnings as situations change.

If you are focused on growing and scaling your company this basic rule should be one of your top process priorities.

What are some of the processes and principles you believe are critical to scaling and growing a strong company?