The Power of Written Policies: Transforming Troubles into Links

Tue, Mar 26, 2024

I’m a little nervous about sharing this life hack with the world; it feels a little like a magician revealing his tricks. That’s exactly what this strategy has felt like to me: magic.

The best part? It’s insanely easy to use. 

I’ll introduce it with a story…

I hate signing non-disclosure agreements for many reasons (more on that another day). Suffice to say that they’re massively to your disadvantage and cause way more problems than they’re usually worth. More often than not, they’re a complete waste of time. 

Regardless, they get lobbed across the fence at random in my line of work. 

When I first stopped signing NDAs, I had a powerful list of reasons to support the decision. 

That didn’t seem to matter. It didn’t seem like they were listening to my reasoning at all. 

Prospects would ask for an NDA, I would calmly and politely explain why I didn’t sign them, and it would become a sticking point about half of the time. 

Some people would see my logic, as many others would decide to dig their heels in and make it a thing. Then, I did my magic trick:

I wrote out the entire list of why I generally don’t sign NDAs, the conditions under which I would consider signing an NDA, and what that NDA would need to look like. Then, I had my team publish it on our website

Any time anyone asked for an NDA, I’d send them the link. 

Or, if we were in a meeting, I’d pull the page up right then and there. Then, I’d politely explain I don’t sign NDAs and offer to dive into the details if they would like so that they didn’t feel I was being uncooperative. 

Not one issue. Ever. I haven’t had any problems with my stance on NDAs since. It nullified the problem completely. The few times it has been appropriate, the other party has complied with every requirement I have, with no messy back and forth since it’s all in writing.

That’s the magic: It’s all in writing. 

There’s something about things being in writing that completely changes our perspective. The phrase “It is written” has religious significance. Putting something in writing suddenly makes it canon. People take it more seriously. 

Seeing it in writing also helps people take it less personally. 

Beforehand, my refusal to sign their NDA could just as easily have been about them. However, once I shared the page, they could easily tell that this policy pre-dated my engagement with them. 

If there’s something you find yourself explaining often, write it out and start sending people a link instead. I went as far as including a section on my pricing page that explains why we never discount. It completely killed any objections to our pricing. 

Pro tip: This works for almost anything.

You only check emails once a day? Link. You don’t take meetings on Mondays? Link. You won’t begin work until onboarding is complete? Link. You want employees to [do the thing]? Link. You won’t work in a certain industry or vertical? Link. You require a year-long contract? Link. 

You can use this trick for customers, employees, friends, and even family. I have a link I send people close to me and ask them to get on my calendar. If you’re a part of my inner circle, I’ll spend as much time with you as you need, but we have to do it my way.

What do you think? Is it genius, or am I taking things way too far? If you like the idea, what links are you thinking about building? Let me know; I’m sure I could pick up a few that I’m missing.