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Legatus Magazine

Cover Story
Thomas Monaghan | author
Oct 01, 2009
Filed under Chairman
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Taking notes

Tom Monaghan discusses why taking notes will improve your effectiveness as a leader  . . .

Thomas Monaghan

Thomas Monaghan

Many years ago, at the last job that I worked before buying my first pizza store, I was fortunate to have an excellent businessman as my boss. One day while we were talking, he told me about a Mr. Lynn A. Townsend who was the Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Corporation. (This was back in the late 1950s when Chrysler was one of the biggest and most successful corporations in the world.)

Townsend had told my boss that an important key to success is to always immediately write down every idea you get — whether it is prompted by something you read or hear, just write it down. I took this advice to heart and have been doing it for years.

So I recommend always carrying a pad and pen in your pocket (or purse for the women); never feel embarrassed to pull out your pen and write down an idea or thought on the spot. Some may think you are not too bright or cool, but do not worry about it; there’s no shame in admitting you might forget something.

I travel a lot and in preparation for each trip, my staff prints out a detailed itinerary for me. It usually encompasses 2-3 days, and it is always printed on orange paper so that I can distinguish it from all of the other papers I carry in my pocket. I use the back of these orange itineraries as my note pad. I always have one in my pocket because I keep the last itinerary there until I get one for my next trip. When I get an idea that I want to remember (oftentimes it is while I am in church), out comes the orange sheet and my pen, and I make a note of it.

Some people think that I am creative and that I have a lot of ideas. Actually, I do not feel that I can take credit for any of them. I feel that it is almost a moral obligation to capture every good idea that comes to me. Often when I am driving and get an idea, and I obviously cannot write it down, I will turn my watch around on my wrist to remind myself that there is something I want to remember, and I jot it down later when I get the chance.

Thomas Monaghan is Legatus’ founder and chairman. He is a member of Legatus’ Naples Chapter.

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