Put it in writing

Randy Carr attempts to
stay ahead of his employees and their questions at World Emblem International
Inc. through writing — and a
lot of it.

He faithfully keeps a personal
journal, and he requires that
minutes be recorded at every
company meeting.

“My journal is glued to my
hand,” says Carr, the company’s
president and CEO. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, you’ll
see me walking around with it.”

The result is that every one
of his 650 employees — and
Carr himself — has a written
record of events to help deal
with just about any situation.
This documentation reduces
the odds of misinterpretation
that often result from vocal
communication.

Following this philosophy
helped the company rise from
2004 revenue of $13.1 million to
2007 revenue of $20.1 million.

Smart Business spoke with
Carr about how to stay in tune
with your company so you have
the answers when you need
them.

Q. How do you stay tuned in
to your company?

Write everything down. Once
a week, I go back and refresh
my list. Things that will take
over 10 minutes, I put into the
computer to make sure they
don’t get lost.

I maintain a strict calendar
with actual things I need to get
done. I keep at least 30 percent
of my week open to do whatever comes across my desk. I
don’t schedule myself up to the
minute. Things tend to come up
all day, every day that need my
immediate attention.

If I’m scheduled up to the till,
I’ll never get anything done. I
keep open gaps in my schedule
specifically so I can work on the
things that need my immediate
attention or work on projects.

It’s important that people
know what they can expect
from me, so I’m consistently giving them the same responses
and same reactions. It’s a question of taking each piece of the
organization and making sure it
fits with the rest of the organization on a regularly scheduled
basis.

Q. How does keeping
a journal help you do
that?

It helps make sure that
the things that need to get
done are actually getting
done as opposed to the
stuff that you like to do
but isn’t as important.

Keeping a journal
allows me to go back and
make sure that what I
needed to get done got
done, and some of the
stuff that wasn’t as important didn’t get forgotten.
Those things just got put
onto a different list or delegated to someone else.

It still got done, but it
never got lost. I go back
through the journal at least once
a week. I can reflect on what it
is I did for a day, a week or a
month, or whatever period I’m
looking back on.

My journal makes sure my
staff is held accountable. It
makes sure I don’t forget about
anything. It keeps the important
stuff in the front and allows the
less important stuff to get
pushed back.

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