It's Not Rocket Science!
It's Not Rocket Science! Five Questions Over Coffee
Five Questions Over Coffee with Adrienne Bellehumeur (ep. 93)

Five Questions Over Coffee with Adrienne Bellehumeur (ep. 93)

Boosting Business Efficiency: How Documentation Can Help You Do More with Less

Who is Adrienne?

Adrienne Bellehumeur is a seasoned professional based in Calgary, Alberta, known as "Texas North" due to its association with the oil and gas industry. With expertise in working with clients in various industries, Adrienne primarily focuses on assisting oil and gas companies, including those in the process of going public in Canada or listed on the US exchange. Her main area of expertise lies in running compliance and internal control operations, as well as handling financial process work. Additionally, Adrienne excels in using her skills in documentation to solve a wide range of problems faced by her clients. While her clientele spans across different sectors, her current work heavily revolves around the oil and gas industry.

Key Takeaways

[00:02:18] Doing more with less: a universal problem.

[00:04:04] Knowledge lost; document lessons, automate, avoid stagnation.

[00:07:27] Wasted money on known problem; lack of communication.

[00:10:35] "Documentation is a problem-solving tool for career success."

[00:14:43] Book summarizes career best practices for all.

[00:18:13] Poor cash flow due to delayed sales.

[00:20:39] Subscribe to for updates and free downloads.

Valuable Free Resource or Action

A video version of this podcast is also at


Subscribe to our newsletter and get details of when we are doing these interviews live at

Find out more about being a guest at :

Subscribe to the podcast at

Help us get this podcast in front of as many people as possible. Leave a nice five-star review at apple podcasts : and on YouTube :!

Here's how you can bring your business to THE next level:

If you are a business owner currently turning over £/$10K - £/$50K per month and want to grow to £/$100K - £/$500k per month download my free resource on everything you need to grow your business on a single page :

It's a detailed breakdown of how you can grow your business to 7-figures in a smart and sustainable way



Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)


documentation, grow your business, 24 hour rule, mass market, advice, guidance, compliance, internal control, financial process, oil and gas, scalability, employee engagement, headcount, systems, knowledge, inflation, interest rates, business owners, high interest rates, high inflation, people's heads, do more with less, lessons learned, automate, minimal effort, sale price, knee-jerk reaction, fancy systems, knowledge management programs, consistent habits, routine.


Adrienne Bellehumeur, Stuart Webb

Stuart Webb [00:00:21]:

Hi. And welcome back to It's not rocket science. I've gotta get that in the middle of the frame. Five questions over coffee. I'm here today with Adrian Bellhuma. Adrian is an expert on documentation and how to best use that documentation to help grow your business. And she's the author of the 24 hour rule, which is the 1st real mass market, book, which gives advice and guidance on the best use and best of documentation to grow your business. So I'm really pleased to have Adrienne here with me on the podcast.

Stuart Webb [00:00:54]:

Adrienne, welcome to It's Not Rocket Science 5 questions over coffee.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:00:58]:

Thanks so much, Stuart, for having me. This is great.

Stuart Webb [00:01:01]:

Well, it's terrific to have you. Adrian, let's, let's start by sort of understanding a little bit about the The sort of audience that you you that you help the the the people that have got pros problems that you are trying to help them solve those problems.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:01:16]:

The clients I work with are well, I'm I'm in Calgary, Alberta, so we are considered Texas North, that's our nickname. So I work with a lot of oil and gas clients here, of but and Of companies of all sizes, to be honest, whether it's company that is just in the process of Going public in Canada or large, companies US to on the US exchange. The bulk of my business is actually running Compliance, internal control, financial process work, but I do a lot of other, types of using using the skill of documentation to solve to solve problems. So but it's it's a range of, it's a range of clients, but we we have a heavy focus on oil and gas right now.

Stuart Webb [00:02:03]:

So tell me, what are the sort of problems that those clients have had, and and what have they tried to do to solve the problem that that that they've not necessarily been that successful with before you get involved with them.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:02:18]:

Yeah. Well, it's I mean, it's very topical right now, and I hate give a buzzword, cop cop out response, but doing more with less is a huge theme right now. And I'd say it's a it's Almost a universal problem with inflation, interest rates, really changing the game and how, companies make decisions. So, Again, it's talked about a lot right now, but I don't think it's just just a buzzword. I would say it's the the biggest problem that Clients right now are are struggling with is how to do more with their their staff, first of all. I mean, we Employee engagement is at a all time low right now. People are not looking we are in an age where people are not looking to increase their headcount. In fact, we're looking to decrease headcount pretty much everywhere and just operate with a leaner, structure.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:03:11]:

I have other clients that are that are in a maybe in a different category than a more mature business. They are looking To scale or leverage what they're doing, but still not not really looking they don't we're not in a environment of spending a ton of money, so I this This do more with less theme, is massive whether it's, an existing business scaling kinda scaling back, Using their people better, using systems better, using knowledge in people's heads better. It just seems like a universal and even even Business owners that are looking to scale, right now with high high interest rates, high inflation, It's a more it's a people wanna do it right without just spending a ton of money throwing throwing, you know, Throwing money at at the problem, which is really not what I'd advise to do either.

Stuart Webb [00:04:04]:

And re and really one of the great problems that that, That we we've we've we've we've found ourselves locked into for a lot of years, isn't it? It's the fact that we don't often document All of the lessons learned and things that have happened in the past and how we do things well enough so that when you do get that Turnover of engagement or when you do need to downsize and you do need to automate things through systems, it's not possible to do that because the knowledge is lost. So the knowledge is is lost because it's locked in people's heads, and it's only by sensibly and by, Well, I'd like to say with minimal effort, but that's what it is. With minimal effort getting into a document which is easy to understand, keep refreshed, Keep people sort of, up to speed that a business owner is able to do that. And it and it it's critical to to not only growth, but When it comes to that stage of when you need to, as a business owner, start thinking about exit, if it's all locked away in people's heads, you cannot possibly move the business forward.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:05:03]:

Yeah. It certainly can hurt your sale price as well, in the event of a of a even even informal documentation can be used to increase your sale price as well. So that's that's a great point. I mean, any, tier audience that's often looking to leverage their business, I mean, Doc, just getting things on paper is that's a huge part big part of my business too is actually

Stuart Webb [00:05:27]:


Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:05:28]:

point of leverage. Even even myself, if I'm looking to bring someone new in our team or, Using an administrator, all of a sudden, the stuff that I've done from my own head has to be transferred. I mean, it's it's very interesting how Important documentation becomes oh, even when you expand to just 2 people doing doing something. I mean, my my advice, I guess, Stuart, what I see in and and why I'm so motivated in this area is that most most businesses have really knee jerk reaction to these projects Where it's kind of, oh, let's just go doc run and spend a fortune either documenting or fancy systems or almost overkilling, the problem as opposed to just consistent habits, that is less costly. So that's Part of my soapbox I'm getting on and the motivation for my work, I know you wanna ask about why we're what companies Could do better. Yeah. The knee jerk reaction of rushing out and spending a fortune either documenting or systems or these Fancy knowledge management programs. And then what happens is, of course, they just get cut.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:06:40]:

This is cut when, when the Buzzword changes. So I've I've my whole math my entire methodology is about Consistent habits that are actually quite an Habits. Quite routine.

Stuart Webb [00:06:55]:

Habits are really important with this, aren't they? If it becomes what it as you say, it's it's one of those things where if somebody turns around and says, We need to make we need to get our documentation up to date, and everybody rushes around and starts doing it. Yep. And then it you know, the the fatigue flags and and everybody gets fed up Doing it, and then you get to the point where somebody leaves and it's okay. Well, we'll you know, let's not worry about that. We'll get on with what we got on with, and then we'll just 2, 3 years later, somebody says, All our documentation's out of date. Let's get all our documentation out of the day. It it it just is a cycle. I've seen it 3 or 4 times of businesses I've been involved with there.

Stuart Webb [00:07:27]:

We we we we we haven't got this. Yeah. Learning, learning and a a a habit with, you know, Making it just part of whatever is going on, you just keep a note of of the latest thing and record record it. A a great example of this, I was working with a business recently, and there was a huge amount of effort to get a particular problem solved. And then somebody sort of was looking through the Wiki, and they came across an entry which was essentially, I guess the best thing could be described as, oh, this is a bit of a known problem. We ought to solve it and think about solving it at some stage. And I asked the question, Well, when did that get written? Well, the date stamp is this date, and I went, so let's get this right. We've just spent Nearly a quarter of $1,000,000 trying to solve a problem that was known about.

Stuart Webb [00:08:22]:

Yeah. But we'd all forgotten about it. And I went, didn't anybody think of Checking the Wiki before we started down this path, and they went, no. We kind of don't really bother too much about it. We just look at it when we're really, really stuck. It was one of those moments when I thought the habit of constantly sort of doing documentation has been lost in this organization, And it would have saved a good quarter of a 1000000. Yeah. We would have we would have been 4 weeks ahead of schedule had we not spent 4 weeks Forgetting that there was some documentation and not even bothering to look at it.

Stuart Webb [00:08:55]:

A horrible experience.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:08:56]:

It's it's, it's very Basic, basic skill in some ways. I mean, we're we and we assume, our workforce knows how to do it correctly. My Experience as a business owner and consultant, is is actually it's the contrary. It's very few people that really understand mechanics are doing it well, and that's actually why I do so much have so much effort writing and training others and, promoting best practices and habits around because my experience is that it's it's not as well done or understood as a skill, and it and it does take work. It's not something like breathing. Not every you're not gonna just hire experienced people, and they necessarily are great at it.

Stuart Webb [00:09:43]:

I'm just making a note of, of things that I need to remember in the future, Adrianne, to Check. Come back to. Listen. You must have some valuable free advice that you, that you you could give to the audience listening at the moment. What what would that be? And I I think there is A an interesting, download that I can refer to now, which I'll show on screen.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:10:03]:

Sure. There's a download here. So my book, I'm gonna I'm gonna do,

Stuart Webb [00:10:09]:

this to James.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:10:10]:

Oh, I'm just going the wrong way.

Stuart Webb [00:10:11]:

I went right

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:10:15]:

for smarter organizations. So it's actually don't I I don't wanna freak out your audience that it's a book on documentation. It's actually a fun read. It's much more, aligned with solving business problems. That's actually how I view documentation. It's not just a exercise you put on the shelf. It's it's really about solving problem. That's what I That's what I do for a client.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:10:35]:

Whether a client is going public or it is or you're stuck in a vortex of meetings or you have, Peter is retiring, and he built your systems from scratch 15 years ago. I mean, there's so many different scenarios which you apply documentation to, and I Truly believe that it's just a tool for problem solving, also a set of skills that you carry your entire career, and and in your life as well. So my book is structured along these 6 steps, of of capture, structure, Present, which is about writing and and visualization, communicate, store and leverage, and lead and innovate, and, I give Tips, and skills along each of these things. So my download will give your audience a bit of a flavor for some of these techniques, and if you're interested more, certainly check them out in the book. I mean, I would say if if I could leave your audience with One very simple technique in documentation, that is no technology required, no fancy education, and they will get their money's worth from, joining your, this this podcast today, is the 24 hour rule, and that is a very simple it's actually I believe the golden rule of documentation is that you have To process, you have to do something with information within 24 hours of either hearing it or even have it it can be applied to ideas as well. The 20 the 24 hour rule, is is the again, golden rule documentation, also a great productivity tip. One of the worst losses of of good of knowledge, momentum on projects, opportunity comes within 24 hours. We don't we are really good at processing information in 24 hours.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:12:32]:

But if you really wait past that window, Your short term memory and your your energetic connection to that information starts dropping. So I'm sure, Stuart, you've been to meetings. Everyone Came out with brilliant ideas and, all this they solved the world, and then they they just head out for the weekend and really forget to action anything. Those are Very classic examples of how good information opportunity momentum gets lost because we don't We don't process it effectively. And in my experience is a lot of great information is lost within That that 24 hour window. Certainly, meetings is a great example, but you can apply it to business I mean, sales. It's usually when you don't When you don't follow-up on a sales opportunity or even process it or connect with someone you met at a conference, you are your likelihood of doing that diminishes actually quite rapidly in 24 hours. So it's a very different take on how documentation is usually so Formal and, so, corporate, but this is a this is a new take, of driving better habits will change Change your documentation across the board in so many different areas of your business.

Stuart Webb [00:13:48]:

I like it very much. I agree. I really do. I really do. Was there a particular, book or experience or course or something which really sort of got you into understanding the the the value of commendation in in a in an organization?

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:14:05]:

I I actually wrote the book because I thought there was A hole in the market. I've again, I I as a I'm a I'm a CPA. I started, your it's and it's a very documentation, patient, intensive career, actually. You do need to loan your auditor, or you you have to you have to know the document. And, usually, you're plunked. And I my experience is you're plunked into, into the work world. People expect to do how to do it. And I actually remember it really drowning, When I worked for I worked for a lot of banks and all the just sea of documentation.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:14:43]:

I I remember not actually having a good grasp on it, So I was very motivated to write a book that I think would be helpful, but it it it would be helpful for people new in their career, but also really all levels. I've I mean, certainly, it it's it's almost, a it it's levels the playing field, really. It's not everyone Almost it doesn't matter if you're a senior executive or, just starting your career. We could all benefit from some of these best practices. The the book actually draws from the worlds of information management, organizational design, which is effectively better process, and And productivity, personal productivity, is kind of a smooshing together of these 3 disciplines, and, actually, that's why That intersection is really where this world, I call it dynamic documentation, is defined. I I would say I mean, one big influence is David Allen's getting things done. It is, and he's influenced a lot of people. He he really that productivity component, he's the one who Really kicked it off.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:15:45]:

There's been a lot of great productivity books since then, personal productivity, but I would his is still This is still kind of the the kickoff about just over 20 years ago of that new discipline, which is so needed in today's work world. We do we do need Teach people how to be more productive.

Stuart Webb [00:16:04]:

Absolutely great. Look. We're reaching towards the end of the, for the interview. Adrian, I really thank you for spending some time with us, but But there must be 1 question that's currently, currently keeping you, keeping on the edge of your seat thinking, why hasn't he asked me about? And so, therefore, I'm gonna ask you now, What's the question I should have asked you, which I I haven't yet? And then, obviously, you have to answer it because otherwise, we'll all be going away wondering why it is we didn't get a good answer to that question. So What is that 1 question that I haven't yet asked that you'd like me to?

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:16:34]:

The oh, wow. That's a hard question, Stuart. You can ask me to

Stuart Webb [00:16:37]:

I like to I like to leave the hard questions for other people to, to ask as well as answer, Adrian. That's, that's that's my that's my secret of my success.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:16:45]:

You can ask me, What's the simp my favorite simple framework for document I know it's a very question, and I'll I'll I'll, I I have lots of

Stuart Webb [00:16:55]:


Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:16:55]:

to ask me, but yes.

Stuart Webb [00:16:57]:

Please give us that description.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:16:59]:

Alright. I'll give another simple this is also very helpful for your audience, and I use it extensively in my training is that documentation has been traditionally viewed as big d documentation. That means, like, Policies, records, formal, big systems, transform big big initiatives like that. Documentation is equally about little d, everyday disciplines and habits that we talked about, including the 24 hour rule, How we take notes, how we store things regularly, how we can write, how we communicate. To have great documentation, you need to balance Big d and little d. You can you can implement the fanciest sales system in the world, but if your sales team doesn't have the habit of recording sales prospects, it's not gonna fly. I vote so I'm a huge believer. My very simple framework is that you keep you Basically have to keep the 2 in balance, big d and little d, to have very successful initiatives, projects, and organizations as well.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:18:07]:

So I'll just leave with that last little framework easy framework for your audience.

Stuart Webb [00:18:13]:

Adrian, I happen to love that, and it reminds me. Just gonna give a very real example. I led, I led 1 business that was currently in undergoing a huge amount of, trouble. The, the the problems were were myriad, but one of the major problems I had to solve was the fact that their cash flow was poor. And the the the one of the keys to solving their cash flow was to discover that these salespeople Captured most of their sales on bits of paper and then uploaded them to the computer system when they got back into the office. And they were traveling, So they would have what I call what I eventually came to call briefcase time. That was orders that were ready that customers wanted to pay for In a brief case for 1, 2, or possibly even 3 weeks, by which time the customer had even forgotten they'd made the order And then we cancel it when they saw it come through on an email because they thought it was no longer an order or it was a duplicate. And that was one of the major problems that that business had, and all we had to do was get them to upload it on a slightly more regular basis than leave it in their briefcase for 3 weeks.

Stuart Webb [00:19:23]:

And the 24 hour rule became an absolutely critical rule for us. All orders from paper into system Improper documentation so that we actually understood what the order was within 24 hours. You're absolutely right. Big d and little d, Absolutely critical to every organization. I love that. I'm gonna be starting to I'll steal that from you if that's okay with you. Okay. Yeah.

Stuart Webb [00:19:43]:

Absolutely. Big d and little d or

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:19:45]:

You can talk

Stuart Webb [00:19:46]:

day long.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:19:46]:

Big d, little c, you can use it you can use it in different capacities, but they do always have to be in balance. And we talk a lot about big d, so I'm Bringing a lot more attention to those little d habits, skills, and

Stuart Webb [00:19:58]:

different ones. Brilliant. Adrian, look. This has been a really fascinating discussion, And I think you've brought documentation to life, which I know is not something which I expected people to be hearing from me because documentation is not something that most businesses find themselves thinking It's a good use of their time. It's a critical use of their time if they wanna grow, critical use of their time if they wanna avoid some of the problems you've been saying. Look. We're we're reaching the end, but if you would like to get on to our newsletter list so that you get to hear about brilliant interviews With people like Adrian so that you can participate by asking questions when we're live or by being aware of the recordings when they come out on podcast form on Apple Spotify. Here's the link you go to.

Stuart Webb [00:20:39]:

You go to httpscolonforward/forward/link.thecompleteapproach. That's thecompleteapproach That's Get on that newsletter list, get to hear about great people like Adrian who are coming up, and about the brilliant sort of things that you'll hear When you see Adrian's, notes coming out, because I'll link to that book and I'll link to her 6 steps, a free download. Adrian, this has been absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for spending a few minutes with us. Really appreciate you coming to us all the way from, from Calgary. I guess it's still nice and warm there at the moment.

Stuart Webb [00:21:19]:

I've been to Calgary, and I know it could get a little cold. But I guess for

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:21:23]:

a moment,

Stuart Webb [00:21:24]:

it's still up.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:21:26]:

Adrianne, thanks.

Stuart Webb [00:21:28]:

Thank you so much. You're gonna play us out, and then, we'll Speak to you again soon.

Adrienne Bellehumeur [00:21:33]:

Thank you.

It's Not Rocket Science!
It's Not Rocket Science! Five Questions Over Coffee
The mission of It's Not Rocket Science! is to bring a new idea for building business to growth-hungry business leaders and owners who want to do more with less time and so increase their business and influence. We deliver actionable ideas using our “five questions over coffee.”