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In all the years I have been building businesses and learning about systems, best practices, marketing, financial management, product lines, and organization in general, the action that gave me personally the biggest boost was what I am about to tell you. It took me ten years to figure out what it was that I was doing that allowed me to start multiple businesses in different countries and never get bored with the game of business and helping people etc. I also never feel like slowing down retiring or anything like that.

After ten years of doing this action, I realized that this was the key reason for my success or minor setbacks where I had or had not done this action. The action I'm talking about is writing up hats, policies, and procedures. I started doing this in 1982 in a big way in my second business. I had started this business in 1980, and it was expanding fast. Two years into the business, I started writing up training manuals and an apprenticeship system. The business expanded a lot more after that. At the time, I did not realize the real importance of this action. It just made sense to do it. It took me ten years and multiple businesses to figure how important this action was. In 1992 when I was preparing to move to the US, I was writing all the hats up for the last business I had in Australia. One night, I realized that this was the most important action I had done through the years. 

The business I sold in 1984, all the hats policies and procedures were all written up, and I was already building my third business at the time, and it was a smooth transition with no drop in my personal income. In 1986 I went to Hong Kong and opened an office. The expansion was great while I was there, but I left after three months, and I had to subside it continuously. After three years, I stopped subsidizing it, and a year later, it closed. When I looked back at Hong Kong, I realized that not all the hats, policies, and procedures were written up. 

I sold my share of the business in Sydney in 1988 due to mutinous partners, and the transition did not go well. The remaining partners nearly lost the business a year later because they did not follow my hat on how I handled Unions. I had verbalized that hat many times, but I never wrote it up as a policy. The hat was simply: "If a Union representative comes on to a job site, they are going to ask you if everyone working on the site is a card-carrying Union member, and you are going to say, 'no, we had two new guys start this morning. Could you sign them up for me?' He will say, ' yes, I can.' Then you pay him with a check. You are also going to say, "If you see anything out on the job site, let me know, and we will fix it. We have forty-odd guys working here, and it's hard to keep track of everything." He is going to say, "No problem." He is always going to find something and tell you. He might say something like, "I found an extension, electric cord that is not in conduit." Or "I noticed one of the ladders is not extending above the gutter line by two feet." And you say, "no problem, we will fix this right away, and get right on it there and then and fix it." What have I done? I have made an ally out of him, not an enemy, and justified his existence." 

While all the tech hats were well codified, not all the administrative and peripheral policies and procedures were written up. The company was never the same, and eventually, it got into financial trouble, and two of the people I had hired when I was there took over the business and built it back up again. It is still in existence today.

I then opened another office in Taiwan with a partner and left him in charge a year later when I returned to Sydney. This was a smooth transition, and the business in Taiwan never stopped expanding, and guess what? All the hats, policies, and procedures were written up. 

Of all the things I have discovered about expansion tech, the action of writing one's story, hats, and books, etc. is still the single most powerful action a being can do for him or herself. There is such a personal therapy that goes with the action. From what I observed, these actions got a person out of the past and into the future. It allowed the person to free up some mental attention units from things they had figured out and be able to put those free attention units on to things they hadn't figured out. Hence, expansion would occur as a natural result, without a whole lot of effort. Pure magic, really. 

I advise you to decide to do what I have described here and keep the discipline in to do it on a continuing basis, and you will probably never be the same again.
Graham Payne

The Best Habit to Develop: Projects
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