In Business there is a term called Follow-up or Follow-through (I shall interchange these phrases as we explore them). To be successful in business and life, follow through is something we all must do. (I’ve just realised that that last sentence rhymes!) Follow-up is recognised as a crucial step in being successful yet it is often ignored or put off. Perhaps you feel you are chasing around, rather like the fans of Pokemon Go?
If you think about it the world would come to a grinding halt without follow up, as no-one would dare or be bothered to ask another on a date, to live together, get married or have children!
When we know what we want to attract or gain, then follow up is a natural progression.
Follow through can mean several things in different settings, it is about continuing the conversation and the relationship;
- for the networker it is making contact outside the event with those you have just met,
- for the meeting attendee, it is quickly writing up a report and sending it on to the others,
- for the business person it is adding value to their clients,
- for the parent, it is keeping the promise to take the kids out,
- for the person dating, it is asking for another date,
- for the Pokemon Go fan, it’s posting on Social Media about their finds,
- for the believer, it is spending more time with God.
Why is follow up so hard?
It is dangerous to consider Follow up as a non essential skill or allow fear of rejection, or disinterest in the process itself to stop you from doing it. Especially when it can give you the edge in being successful.
Desmond says, “I know I should follow through but it feels boring compared with my other work and I often am so busy I don’t give it the attention that I know I should. Perhaps if I had someone to be accountable to, it might get this chore done”.
Like Desmond, it is easy to put off what is unexciting and perhaps has a chore like feeling! If, like the chore, it is in the mindset and approach which makes us a cheerful chore achiever or a cloudy chore avoider! Note, that both take an equal amount of energy, the first increases efficiency and hightens awareness of opportunities and the second encourages apathy and self-guilt.
Follow through has three levels; basic, intermediate and advanced:
- Basic—doing what you said you would do.
- Intermediate—adding additional value.
- Advance—going that extra mile beyond expectations (yours and theirs).
Coaching towards Follow-up
In my recent experience in coaching, follow-through has been very much on the agenda. The great thing about coaching is that you are not alone, you have someone you are accountable to and someone who will cheer you on when follow-up is a hard practice to follow.
When making this commitment to take follow-through action I noticed how different it is when someone guides you or goes before you. It is like they are beckoning you to the next level. As you follow, there is easy access, making your way through wide doorways, as your business intensifies or there is a particular project which has a higher priority or meaning for you the doorway narrows. Sometimes, some follow-through practice can feel that you are going through a hedge without much of a gap. How thorny that hedge is depends on many aspects;
- is it the first time through,
- are the perceived risks high or
- is the final outcome a previously unobtainable prize or dream?
Fear, enters the scenerio, can you get through without self sabatage or sustain possible damage by the experience?
Follow up contains many emotions, fears and dreams, which is why it is often put off and equally why it is a ‘must do’.
Tips for follow-up
- Have an immediacy about it, do it straight away.
- Make it fun, block times in the week for it such as Fun Follow-up Friday.
- Decide on your process or method.
- Break down the different types of follow through you need and then apply No 3 to it.
- Make it a habit, so it becomes a regular part of your week.
- Note the successes of when you do follow through
- Automate as much of the follow up practice as possible. Is there an email sequence you can set up?
- Ask others how they follow up in their work and gain some tips which you might try.
- Keep in mind the best outcome, the response you dream of to your Follow-up contact. Sometimes dreams come true.
- Decided to Do it and find an Accountability Partner.
Be as determined as the Pokemon Go fans in gaining your dreams. Make Follow Up your mission leading you onto the next level.
Do you need help with your Follow Through? Would it be helpful to have a supportive accountability partner to clarify your actions? Contact me for a free consultation firstname.lastname@example.org
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