Last time, we talked about: Managing Basics: Study Their Work.
So how do you get that done? Handle the right now, and handle it well.
Forget your laptop, and put away your smartphone. Great managers know that the best tool they have is as analog (i.e. ‘by means of hands’) as it gets: Pen and paper.
Pen and paper will annoy you in a good way: If you carry it with you and don’t pull it out and use it, you’ll feel you missed something, forgot something, got careless, or were too lazy — and you’ll likely be right. Overwhelm is the plight we managers share, but it’s fixable.
Management is about handling the details, and seeing the most important details in the people who surround you. When you do so, you ‘get it.’
Thus, great managing requires writing things down, re-reading your notes for the mindfulness they’ll trigger in you, and then doing something about them. You’ll have to take action. You’ll have to respond. You’ll have to dig into whatever you didn’t know enough about yet.
Please trust me on this: Opening your laptop to record your thoughts after something happens isn’t the same thing. Pecking into a note-taking app on your phone, or talking into a voice memo recorder isn’t the same thing. You have to write with pen, and on paper. It’s a physical act which comes from within you and your Aloha Spirit, and not the mechanical wizardry of a machine. Your writing combines with the detail you capture, and it gets transformed with your intention to remember, to assign importance to something, and to follow-up.
There’s another big difference too: Jot down a note during a conversation with someone, and you can still lean in to them. They feel listened to and acknowledged. The conversation digs in.
On the other hand… Look into your smartphone screen and peck in the very same note, and they suspect you’re taking a shortcut. More often, they think you’re being rude and dismissive. The conversation hesitates and becomes more guarded as the other person wonders how much you really care.
“One of the best things you can say about a pen is that it is ‘pocketable.’ Because a pen you can easily pocket is a pen you are likely to take with you every day and a pen that you take with you is a pen you will use.
A good pen is a promise to an empty page.
Paper is always ‘on.’
Paper is never passive.”
— Patrick Rhone
I like that — “A good pen is a promise to an empty page.” A written note, is a promise to the good intentions of your calling as an Alaka‘i Manager.
So please dear manager, carry, and use, pen and paper.
Keep those papers as records you can look back on, for as your habit takes shape you’re likely to notice a shift over time in what you write down to capture. You sharpen your perception, and you activate your intuition as the true sensor it is.
Best of all, you’ll notice a shift in how much good you achieve, because you follow up more. You ho‘ohiki: Keep your promises. You simply do. It’s that analog magic, ‘by means of hands’ — yours.