Ways to distingish yourself – #76 Follow up

Follow up has two flavors, one in the context of communication and the other in the context of persistence:

First, in the context of communication:

In their book The Leaders Voice, Ron Crossland and late Boyd Clarke make an interesting observation “The biggest problem with leadership communication is the illusion that is has occurred.”  This is so true and I am sure there have been times where all of us have been surprised (negatively) when our words were mis-understood.

First, we need to realize that there is a gap between when something is communicated and when the action based on that communication happens. This gap can easily introduce variance or delta on the “common” understanding.

Early in my career, I had a boss who would always ask “So, what are you going to do about this” at the end of every meeting. I had to explain what actions I was going to take based on what we discussed in the meeting. I felt stupid explaining that but soon realized that it was a great practice – it was a great way of him ensuring that I had the same understanding that he had at the beginning of the meeting and the communication really happened.

Marshall Goldsmith takes an in-depth look at followup in a Fast Company column.

Now, in the context of persistence:

I have told before that we need to remember the 3T (Things Take Time) Rule. However, that should not prevent us from following up on things that matter to us.

Let’s take an example: When you make a compelling product or service offer to people, they may not be ready to sign up immediately. If you are confident that there will be a match in the future, it is your responsbility to follow up and be on the mind of the customer.

I had a recent experience. Two of my friends who have a telecom consulting business had pitched their services a few months ago. We did not have a need but one of them continued to follow up almost on a regular basis. When we needed a high end hosting solution last month, I didn’t have to blink before choosing them.

That’s the power of follow up.