We have all heard coaches tell golfers to follow through with their swing, or a pitcher to make sure they follow through when pitching. But how many times has a managers said to themselves or to their team to watch their follow through?
According to Webster’s Dictionary the meaning of follow-through can be:
1. The completion of a motion, as in the stroke of a tennis racket.
2. The portion of such a motion after the ball has been hit.
3. The act of continuing a plan, project, scheme, or the like to its completion.
Personally many of us have battled with time management to make sure we follow through. Our days are filled with endless lists of things we want to accomplish or even new ideas that were started and then we moved on to something else.
There are many different types of follow but the one I feel managers need to focus on is following through on what they say. This lack of completion or follow through in business is incredibly harmful.
In the very hectic pace of our daily lives, following through on your word is a lost skill. We are so focused on what we are doing now that we do forget what we had promised. I believe there is a small portion of people who just don’t care to follow through but the majority of people just plain forgot.
Managers: take a quick review. Have you followed through with everything you said you would to your employees?
When an employee comes up to ask you for something and you said “I will check back with you later”. Did you?
When you told a customer you would get back to them with the information on a product, did you?
The reason this is so important is because it shows that your word means something. It sets a great example to your team. Many times we are very good following through for our superiors but do we have that same desire to follow through for our team.
In business, following through on your word builds a strong culture in your office. Your employees know you take their requests seriously, that you value them and you care about making sure you address their concerns or needs. How valuable is that to an organization where employees feel management is on their side versus feeling they DON’T understand or care.
One way to remember things is to carry a pad with you and write things down as they come up. Then check them off when completed. Finally review your list before you leave for the day. Anything that you did not accomplish goes to the top of your list for the next day. This simple technique saves you the worry of trying to remember everything.
I have been on the road a great deal this year speaking at conferences and leading workshops. Keeping in touch with all of these events, tracking what is going on at the office as well as my family duties can be quite a strain on my memory. One of the best ways I have found to keep myself on top of things is using an online tracking tool from Behance. Their CEO, Scott Belsky has written a book called “Making Ideas Happen” which I highly recommend. It is an excellent book on how to keep yourself organized, how to delegate and follow up effectively.
The premise is that everything you do is a project: Marketing an event, financial review, ordering supplies, meeting planning and even personal things like Home improvements or vacation for family. The tool allows you to set up the project and then create tasks that have to be done to move the project to completion. You set a due date, you can assign tasks to people, you can tag a task as a priority, meaning you would like to get this done today.
I love the fact it is mobile and can be used on my Ipad, Iphone and laptop. All of the devices syncs together so that when I am on the run I can add a task to a project in real time and not worry that I have to upload it to each device.
I still struggle with disciplining myself at the end of each day to make sure all tasks have been entered getting but having one place for all my tasks allows me to keep track of my progress.
Your days are busy, things happen that pull your focus. You need a system to keep yourself following through.
By committing to following through the benefits of your actions will show in the level of respect and commitment from your team as well as grow your customer base.