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I'm the CTO of a 20 people sized company, working in supply chain management with the goal to convert/fork into an IT company with supply chain focus.

The pace is really fast compared to all other companies I've worked with before and I only have an IT Assistant for 3 weeks now. Prior to that, I was doing everything from hiring over strategy planning to day to day bug fixing. We're using Asana heavily for all tasks and main means of communication.

Maybe it's me, maybe it's the position in this size of the company, maybe it's the CEO: There have been a few times, where the CEO has had things that he discussed with me, on top of his head. He mentioned that he gave me this feedback before or we discussed this before etc. Some of the cases, I can recall, some others I can't.

How to improve / structure or train this? How do you suggest taking notes work if things move really fast?

Edit (Sorry for not mentioning it earlier)

In one on ones, we do have a note taking software structured in: - Manager points - Directs points after the meeting, we Asana the points into tasks, prioritize.

Sometimes it got difficult where we discussed a bigger topic within a huge list of discussion points and we didn't get into detail: I assume we didn't cover some details. The CEO assumes I didn't listen.

  • Personally I do Getting Things Done. It's a management methology which could be summed up as "listkeeping but in a smart way". I never forget something and I always know what delegations need to be tracked. It's not magic. It's all explained in the boom with the same name. It's established methology and you can get the book for 10 bucks at your favourite bookseller. – BlueWizard Sep 16 at 20:22
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Meeting minutes, action items, and a follow-up email.

I didn't really understand the power of these until I saw them in action at a Fortune 500 company and saw a manager who had 100% buy-in when using them. Yes, it sounds cumbersome, and it does take a little time, but they are a life-saver.

In nearly any meeting, a meeting-minutes person was chosen (often rotated if the usual designee was not there). At the end of every meeting, a review of action items was performed by the person leading the meeting or the senior manager, and then a follow-up email detailing those action items was sent out after the meeting.

For impromptu/hallway meetings, this obviously gets hard. Those meetings need to be handled by professionalism and gray-matter. But if it's a meeting that's on your calendar, it can follow the typical meeting format listed above.

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    When using basecamp, for example, scheduled meeting in calendar has discussion section where we make all notes – Oct18 is day of silence on SE Sep 10 at 13:54
  • Basecamp costs money - which small firms sometimes don't have an excess of, when I worked at a small firm we used Google Docs - as a free means to do the same as @aaaaaa suggested. – Crosbonaught Sep 10 at 14:04
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    I have used Basecamp. The issue is that most Senior level managers will not use it, as its discussion feature is very chatty and produces a lot of email alerts. Senior managers do not have the bandwidth for such apps. They will read emails though (often in the middle of other meetings.. :-). – jasonmclose Sep 10 at 14:11
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Whenever you talk to the CEO, or anyone else, bring a paper and pen and take notes. If you need to catch up with writing notes ask the CEO to pause for a few seconds.

I then transfer all my notes to a tree-type information manager called Keynote. There are several other tree-type information managers out there that are free.

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