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Insight Four: Follow Up and Follow Through

details tell a story

It’s the little things that matter the most.

Regardless of how quickly you ascend as a leader, or how important you have become, your choice to follow up and follow through on the commitments you have made signals to others that you remain a grounded, trustworthy leader.
Taking on more responsibility usually means moving away from the tactical and into the strategic. For some, this shift can open a tendency to let go of some of the rigor in dealing with the “little” things. Things like following up and following through with what you say you’re going to do can fall to the wayside.

The cost of behaving this way is high. Your strategies are only as strong as the foundation of trust from which you deliver them.

It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are if you can’t show up on time for a meeting. Why? Because your lateness communicates that others are not your priority. They begin to wonder things like, “Does she not respect me?” Or, “Does he lack discipline or focus?...”

Following up and following through boils down to doing the simplest, most rudimentary parts of business well: responding to emails, returning phone calls, arriving on time for meetings, acknowledging breakdowns, honoring your commitments.

Of course, sometimes you’ll have five meetings before noon and find yourself late for your 2 o’clock. That stuff happens. But when the basic principles of respectful interaction are regularly abandoned, your credibility drops, the narrative changes, and others may begin to question your commitment.

What might it mean for you?

Making a purposeful effort to follow through and do what you say you will do shows others that no matter how lofty your position has become, you will stay dedicated to your team and the intention of your organization.

Honor your commitments, explicit and implied. Challenge yourself to recognize where you may no longer be showing up in a way that is respectful to others. If you find your commitment has faded, take the time you need to renew your intention to be of service in your organization. We bet you’ll find that taking care of the little stuff paves your way to success.


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