If I wanted to lose credibility quickly I would sit in a meeting, not write down an assignment given to me, and not complete the assignment after the meeting. Even worse, I would write down the assignment (tacitly acknowledging I will do something about it) and then not complete the assignment after the meeting anyway.

Remember that server job you had in high school or college and to increase your tips you tried to remember everyone’s order without writing it down? (Okay, if you were never a server in high school or college, you have certainly been to a restaurant where a server has tried this Jedi mind trick.) News flash. I never tip more when a server doesn’t write down my order. A restaurant server’s ability to remember an order is not mesmerizing to me. A server’s ability to deliver my fettuccine alfredo with seared chicken, sundried tomatoes, extra parmesan, added green unions, and coconut lemonade with a third of ice in my glass is what impresses me. This short article is about delivering results and one quick life hack to deliver results and boost credibility.

Building credibility within your organization (heck, within your own family) is about your ability to write things down where you’ll see them when you need them.

Write things down where you’ll see them when you need them.

Let’s be clear about this credibility principle. What I did not say is don’t write things down. What I did not say is write things down, but don’t look at them again. What I did not say is write things down, look at them again, but at the wrong time. And, what I did not say is write things down, look at them at the right time, but don’t get them done anyway. Whether using a paper-based or digital system, the key to getting stuff done and building credibility in your relationships is to actually put things in a place where you will recall them when you need them.

Your mind is for having ideas not holding them.

David Allen GTD Guru

While our mind is an incredible organ for a list of reasons too long to cite, what it doesn’t do very well is recall everything when we need it. It usually isn’t in the toiletry aisle at the grocery store when we remember we ran out of toilet paper. It is usually in a much more precarious situation. That is why you need to be able to write things down and put them in a place, a tickler file of sorts, to recall those things when you need them. Gmail and Outlook have now figured this principle out for email. The snooze feature in those products is a great example of this. You see the email, you determine you can’t take care of it in 2 minutes or less, and you defer it for a day and time of your choosing (snooze it).

When taking an assignment from a meeting, a spouse, or anyone else, writing it down and putting it into a system to actually get it done at a time and place of your choosing is critical to building the credibility you are looking for. Evaluate your level of credibility with the groups you associate with. Are you a go-to person? Can people rely on you to get stuff done? Do you see them writing the assignment down that they gave it to you to complete? Another news flash, they are writing it down because they don’t trust you will get it done without their following up with you. Change that dynamic. Become the server that delivers on expectations regardless of your method for remembering and delivering.

Published by Jerrod Guddat

I love learning, collaboration, and improving workplace performance. You can usually find me reading a book or opposing points of view on the internet. I typically assume my ideas are flawed until proven otherwise. :-)

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  1. Great article! What I heard from reading this is: Do what you say you are going to do and you will be both credible and successful!

    Liked by 1 person

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