The Greatest Threat to Success and How to Avoid It...
About 30 years ago, I learned the power of following up.
An important client asked me if my training actually worked. I did research and found that it did, but it required follow up. Since then, follow-up in all its incarnations has become an essential component in my thinking and coaching. Human beings are very poor at any form of self-regulation, and follow-up is important for keeping people focused on the goal.
Compliance and accountability are two sides of the same coin. They’re both burdens that we bear alone as individuals, one imposed on us by others, the other self-imposed. Follow-up intro- duces the coercive force of the outside world to the mix. Suddenly, other people are checking up on us, taking an interest in our opinions and valuing our feedback. We are no longer acting as sole proprietors of our life. We have been conscripted into a group for the purpose of being observed and tested and judged.
And that conscription alters us. Like it or not, follow-up is a valuable process that heightens our self-awareness. It forces us to assess our progress honestly. Without follow-up, we may never take the time to ask how we’re doing.
Follow-up appears in many forms. It could be someone from human resources conducting a company-wide survey, or our boss requesting a weekly progress report, or a vendor checking to see if we’re satisfied with a purchase.
I generally recommend a specific kind of follow-up, which I’ve adapted from the Business Review Plan at Ford. This is a weekly group meeting created by a half dozen or so participants to monitor one another. Whatever form our follow-up takes, we should welcome it rather than resent it. It’s a supportive gesture, not an intrusion on our integrity and personal space.
Like it or not, follow-up is a valuable process that heightens our self-awareness. It forces us to assess our moments of accountability.