Note-taking is an important staple at Junto, something that is done in virtually every session of our Apprenticeship program: classes, tutoring, and mentor meetings (the only exception is the forum). They’re laid out in an outline format that reads like a transcription of the conversation, then edited and distributed within 24 hours of the meeting’s close. The notes are kept confidential and not shared with anyone outside of the session’s attendees, which includes Apprentices, Mentors, Instructors, and/or Tutoring Partners.
The main reason we take notes is so our Apprentices can be fully present in the conversations and not have to worry about getting key ideas written down. The more burden we can take off of the Apprentices administratively, the more engaged they are and more likely they will leave with actionable takeaway items to help them grow their businesses. We want them to get as much out of the session as possible, and believe that by ridding them of the need to jot down notes, it enhances their learning experience.
In my experience, many sessions go deeper into tough issues than originally planned since the leaders don’t have to worry about writing down what they’re hearing. They can have more candid and open conversations, and there is less of a student-teacher relationship and more of a peer-to-peer relationship.
Because the notes are shared in the cloud, attendees have access to them whenever they may need them. For example, a topic in a Mentor Team session may come up that discusses an action to take in the future. When the company is then ready to take that action, they can look back and reflect on the notes to remember exactly what was said and by whom. Similarly, if an Apprentice or Mentor is absent, the notes will help them catch up in an easy way so they are not behind.
Our team also benefits greatly from taking notes. It helps us better see and understand trends that the companies go through at different phases of the program. Because of this we are able to better anticipate the next phase and adapt as need be. We are always looking to improve our program to make it the best it can be, so being able to reflect on the notes has been instrumental in allowing us to update the program. We can also see what questions are most pressing at different stages. We use this to help guide the sessions in a way that would be most beneficial to all involved.
Not only do I take the notes, but I also get to learn along the way. I am always looking to learn and expand my knowledge of business, and I am able to learn from seasoned professionals - the Mentors and Instructors - who are sharing experiences that have made them successful and what they have learned from situations that were not. Even if I do not fully absorb what is being said at the time, I re-read the notes as I edit them and the wheels start turning.
These are real-life business scenarios that operating entrepreneurs encounter. Being able to learn from them is better than any MBA I could imagine. I get to learn from real-time examples as case studies, and hopefully will be able to use that knowledge in my professional settings.
I have had an incredible experience taking notes in these sessions. I get to be both an active listener while ensuring that none of the important information gets lost. I have noticed that as I grow I am better able to pick the pieces of the conversation that are most crucial and make sure I get down all of the information around it. At the end of the day, all anyone wants is the meat of the conversation and not all of the extra fluff. After practicing and learning this, I am more confident that I can identify key terms and ideas.
I have also been able to apply this idea to my life in social situations. Now that I am more familiar with business terminology and have context around it, I am better able to hold conversations on my end and contribute in a meaningful way.
There are many benefits to the note taking aspect of our program. The members of the JuntoTribe benefit from not having to worry about getting everything written down, they don’t have to worry if they have to miss a session, and the notes are always there for them to reference and go back to.
Internally, we as a team benefit from the notes because it allows us to see and better understand trends that the companies are going through. Because of that we can adapt and prepare for the stages before they occur. We can also see trends in the questions being asked, so it gives us an insight into what is important at what stage.
And I have personally benefitted from taking notes in many ways. I’m able to gain insight from the different Tribe members in varying situations and soak up all they have to say and it is helping me expand my knowledge of business.
This piece of the Junto program, taking notes, differentiates us from others and is beneficial to all.