Rule 46: Keep records

Nigeria’s Event Management Expert, Temmie Amodu of  Decor-Kobo Rentals Ltd 

When
a publisher and I agree to do a book together we draw up a contract.  This specifies all those things that could
get forgotten along the way.  That way,
when I deliver the manuscript and the publisher says, ‘But this is only 100 pages and I thought we had agreed on 200’, I
can produce the contract and find the clause where it clearly states ‘100
pages, or so many words, or whatever’.

If
your boss asks you to do something and you make a note of it – in front of them
– they have a very hard job arguing later that you’ve done it wrong or late.
If
you have to submit a report  then drop
your boss a quick memo or note outlining the salient facts, very briefly, so
there will be no confusion later.  Keep a
copy. Make sure they know you have kept a copy.
This
technique isn’t to cover back because you are up to no good.  Instead it clarifies all issues.  If it’s in writing it makes your job so much
simpler, so much easier.  Who can argue
with a written memo?  In fact such things
could be forged, written afterwards, changed, amended and/or rewritten but we
all assure they aren’t, that they are tamper proof.


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“You will often read
in management books the advice to throw away all memo or emails or faxes over a
certain age – if you haven’t looked at it in six months then you don’t need
it.  Rubbish. You hang on to everything”. 

It
is amazing how often the tiniest detail will cause a major upset – unless you
got it in writing in the first place. 
Keeping records isn’t an anal thing to do, but a sensible precaution.
None of us has perfect memory.  We all
forget things – dates, times, details. 
Once we have made a note of whatever it is we can refer to it
later.  And often surprise ourselves with
how badly we have remembered something.
You
will often read in management books the advice to throw away all memo or emails
or faxes over a certain age – if you haven’t looked at it in six months then
you don’t need it.  Rubbish. You hang on
to everything.  Make more filing space
rather than throw anything away, unless and until you are 100 percent certain
it is not needed.  I once had a major row
with a publisher (not this one, of course) relating to a book I had written for
them five years previously.  It was a
dispute that wasn’t covered by anything in the contract.  But I had kept my original notes and could
produce them – bit like having to show your workings during math at school – but I still had my
workings and could show that what they had published had been exactly what they
had asked for.  I was off the hook.  You won’t get me throwing anything away.  No way.
(Excerpts from THE
RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “How to know difference between truth & the whole truth from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)

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