While talking to a friend this past week, she was telling me about a co-worker that was very negative, rude, and in some ways would do things just to stop progress. Whether it is on purpose or not he causes a bad work environment. The problem is management doesn’t see most of it.  He acts different when he is around management and they feel he is difficult to replace.

It reminded me of something I learned from one of my mentors. It is a good way to back up your case. A few years ago I was contracted by a company, at first everything was good but when I had to work with a not very appealing graphic designer things took a bad turn. He made it his job to get me fired. At every turn he would throw me under the bus. My Mentor suggested keeping a log. Then everything that this graphic guy would say to me, I would email him a copy of the notes. It was a record of everything he said. If he had a problem with any thing, he had an opportunity to correct it by emailing me back. It didn’t stop him from being a jerk to me but it stopped him from being able to throw me under the bus because I could show the owner each and every conservation notes.

The logs were fairly simple. Here is what I kept track of:

  • What he or I actually wanted to talk about.
  • Notes of anything that was said.
  • How I felt his mood was.
  • What was the outcome of our conversation.
  • What would be the next strategic action for me or for him to move the project forward.

When I would report to the owner, I would bring along the notes. By focusing on what was said and the expectation the two of us had, I was able to better see where I was on task or off task and ultimately why things weren’t getting done or done more slowly.

Keeping notes not only helped keep projects moving forward, I was able to document my own work which in the end was a huge plus to this and future projects.