Young leaders consistently ask me: "what's one practical piece of advice for becoming/being a leader who gets things done?" A leader that is trustworthy and reliable. The kind of leader when you ask them to get something done, you have complete confidence that it will happen.
My answer is always the same: Write It Down. Always. What do I mean?
1. never show up to a meeting without a pen and a notebook. My preference is a sharpie and a moleskine notebook. But doesn't matter whether it's a legal pad or a Red Big Chief pencil, Or your iphone or laptop. ALWAYS show up to a meeting ready to record thoughts, ideas, takeaways, and action items. I tell my team this all the time, whether we are having a group meeting or individual meetings.
2. carry a pen and notebook with you wherever you go. If you have a thought, write it down. Remember a task that needs to be completed while in your office, capture it in an email or in a running to do list on your desktop or in Evernote. In the car?.... capture it on your iphone audio memo or on a dictation machine. Great ideas seem to always hit us at random times. Especially in the shower. But always make sure it is captured somewhere. Always.
3. create a system for organizing your ideas and thoughts. I did a blog post a while back about this entitled The Way I Get Things Done. Highlighting how and where I capture ideas and the way I organize them on my computer and in different email folders and notebooks.
BONUS thought: One of the most important, if not THE most important person in the room during a brainstorming or creative session is the notetaker. And if you don't have a notetaker for these meetings, find one. Don't have another meeting without one. It has to be someone who is really good at listening, filtering, and capturing. It CAN'T be someone who is actively engaged in the creative or brainstorming elements.
By doing these things, it frees you up to have energy to be creative, think outside the box, dream, and ultimately have a list that works and a way to keep a running account of what items are on your list to get done.