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What Happened To The Follow-Up?

by David Brock on August 23rd, 2018

One of the biggest mistakes managers make is lack of follow-up.

Recently, I sat in a review meeting.  Almost surprisingly, it was very productive.  The team was actively engaged, they were talking about important shifts in their strategies and how they would execute with the customers.

There was great discussion to make sure everyone was aligned.  They agreed on specific next steps and actions (though I had to hint a little at doing this.)

Responsibilities were identified.  Target completion dates were established, the meeting was adjourned.

People left with a great feeling of accomplishment.  The manager was pleased with the results and complimented everyone on the focus and direction.

And time passed…….

I looked at the tasks and target completion dates, asking the manager what had happened.  It took a few nudges.  Finally the manager responded, “I don’t know….”

More time passed….

I started seeing that the things we had agreed to get done weren’t getting done.

I started asking the participants, “What has happened?”

As is so often the case, people’s focus had gotten diverted.  “Urgent” things came up, the course of everyday “busyness” took over.  While well intended, nothing had happened.

Sound unusual?

This is what happens in 90% of the meetings I in which I participate (at least those that are focused and action oriented—-I won’t talk about the meaningless wandering meetings).

We (managers) forget a critical step:  Follow-up.

Without follow-up, we fail to accomplish most of what we may have committed to do.

Follow-up helps all of us live up to our commitments.  It helps us keep from being diverted by the rush of every day busyness.

Follow-up represents a great opportunity to continue coaching and developing your people.  “What happened, what’s next, what did you learn, how can you improve……”

Managers, if you don’t follow up, it’s like getting 9/10’s of your way to the goal, but never quite getting there.  (Close only counts in horseshoes)

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