5 Keys to Achieving Workplace Immortality – The Binder (4 of 5)

5 Tenets for doing Business Better

4 of 5

At a previous job that I held a few years back I made an odd observation. I found myself returning time and again to a specific colleague’s desk whenever I came across a roadblock in my own work. What was it about their desk that made my return so necessary? It was her red three-ring binder. Her red binder was full of everything that related to her job. It included ‘the who’ for every situation, ‘the what’ for every location, and ‘the how’ for every procedure. She was great and had plenty of other qualities that I needed from time to time. But that binder saved me from wasting several hours of referencing online How-to and Procedural manuals that were likely out of date, pestering other co-workers that might look down on me, and keeping me from looking like I did not know what I was doing. I would often just saunter up to her desk and mention the need to look at her binder and that was all it took.

red binder

The strange thing is, I was not the only one and no one realized what was happening until I brought it up at lunch one day.

“The ‘Red Binder’ saved me two hours today!”

“We need to make a copy of that thing for each of us!”

It was only at that point that I realized how important it is for each employee to try and catch our own version of institutional memory. You do not go to class and listen to a lecture and NOT TAKE NOTES! Why is the workplace any different? While in school, I knew that if I took notes I would do better. Few realize that if you re-write your notes you will do EVEN BETTER! This applies to the workplace just as well.

The next time you learn how to do something, where something is, who is the contact for what, or anything else that you find yourself filing away in your mind….take the time to include it in your own Binder. You will find yourself (and many others!) referring to it time and again. You will find yourself among the workplace heroes.

How well do you think this idea would fit in at your workplace? How many already do this? Let me know your thoughts.


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