Follow Up & Follow Through

Follow Up & Follow Through: Do what you say you will do.

Trust is hard to gain, easy to lose, and very difficult, if not impossible, to regain. There are many ways to earn trust and many people whose trust we want and need to earn and honor. Let’s consider the principle of following up and following through. This principle is certainly valuable with our colleagues, teammates, and clients—but, wouldn’t you agree, it is imperative in our homes and with our families!!

Interestingly, in their study of Fortune 500 CEO’S, Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy found that the main reason that CEO’s fail is their inability to “get things done” or to “Execute”. In other words—they didn’t follow up or follow through with what they had either planned, envisioned, or agreed to do. And therein was their demise!! Not only was this their biggest downfall, but, this led to a lack of trust of their employees, their clients, and their stakeholders.

Think carefully when you agree to do something. Ask yourself: “Can I really do this? If so, can I do this in the designated time frame? Can people count on me to get this done in the manner that is expected and acceptable?” If the answer to these questions is “yes”, great. Make the commitment. Make a note to yourself. And, then, “Just do it!”. Hold yourself accountable. Or ask an accountability partner to help hold you accountable. That’s just fine.

However, if you are not sure—or if you think that you cannot answer any or all of the above questions affirmatively, then ask yourself another question, “Could I do these things, with some alterations in time, training, money—whatever.” In other words, if you are asked to do something and you want to do it—and you think you can, but you need adaptations, ask for that. It is better to get those issues out on the table and see if there can be some alternatives rather than disappoint someone.

For example: You are asked to write an article for a magazine you love. However, they are only giving you a two week deadline and you are gone for a week and a half. You do not feel that you can do the research, write the article, and get it to them in excellent condition in the allotted time frame. So, what do you do?

You can explain the situation to them and ask for an extra week. They may be able to stretch the deadline—or maybe not. But, it can’t hurt to ask. Or, you can look at your schedule and see if there are any alternatives within your schedule where you could free up some unexpected spaces for your research and writing. Perhaps you could make your own alterations. If so, you could accept the assignment.

If you accept, then you must follow up and follow through. The editors must be able to count on you to do what you say you will do when you say you will do it. When they gain this kind of trust in you, they will ask you again—and again–to write for them.

This example is transferable to all situations.

  • Merriam-Webster defines trust in the following manner:“belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective.”

That’s the way I want people to think about me. How about you?