The Necessity of Follow Through

“I’ll give you a call by then end of the week.”

“I’m going to take you lunch soon.”

“I’ll get that info to you by the end of the day.”

“I’ll sit down with you and we can talk it through.”

Have you ever let someone down? I know that I have and I’m not proud of it. But I will tell you straight up that it is always my intent to follow up on what I say I am going to do. I’ll take it a step further. I would personally want to know if I have neglected anything I told you that I would do and would appreciate a reminder. That does not bother me because I want to follow through on what I said I would do. When I led the Evangelism team at the Georgia Baptist Convention, I would meet with the staff each month. One part of the agenda was labeled “What about” This item was where I made myself accountable back to my team for anything that ever came out of my mouth. I have likewise done this with all teams I have led through the years. I was always willing (and still am) to give an explanation, status update, or apology if needed for anything I said I would do that may have been left undone. You can ask those who have served closest to me about this. I want to keep my promises.

I imagine you know someone who makes statements like the four in the introduction and you know good and well you are not going to hear back from them. They make proclamations and don’t understand that their credibility erodes further with each failure to follow through on what proceeded from their own mouth. I am not talking about making a mistake here. I am referring to not following through on what you say you will do. Sadly, when this occurs with customers they don’t simply interpret it as “Mack does not keep his promises,” but as “the whole organization does not follow up on their promises.” Ouch! It is not only your personal reputation at stake. John G. Miller says, “Whether its boss to employee, peer to peer, or corporate to field and vice versa, no one should be surprised when anyone keeps a promise. Whatever we say that we’ll do, we do. When people treat one another like this, your leadership is maximized.”

Adapted from Chapter Fifteen of John G. Miller’s book, Outstanding; 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional.