A friend of mine who recently embarked on his own entrepreneurial journey figured out that he doesn’t like dealing with people who suck at follow through. You know who they are: people who don’t follow up, forget, make excuses, disappear, and are energy and time wasters to those of us who make stuff happen.
I said, welcome to the club!
One of my pet peeves is follow through. If you don’t know what it is, the definition of follow through is this: the continuing of an action or task to its conclusion.
Think about that…
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been complimented on my follow through. It’s one of those things I’m always on point: If I tell you I will call you tomorrow at 2 PM, rest assured that’s exactly what I’ll do. And if something comes up, I’ll contact you beforehand to tell you something unexpected came up and ask to reschedule.
This is a simple example, but it’s how I am with everything.
I also have a very strong sense of being accountable with others. For example, anytime I meet someone I act as though I’m not only representing myself but also my family, friends, coworkers and collaborators; I want you to know and feel that you are interacting with a different type of human being that surrounds himself with great people.
I just don’t tolerate bad follow through.
Once again I was left hanging by someone who reached out for my business 😡 So I'm writing a post of follow through, will be up next week!
— Jorge Barba (@jorgebarba) September 28, 2017
You’re not a game-changer if you suck at follow through
In my interaction over the last two years I’ve noticed an uptick in bad follow through. Why? I have no idea. I’ve commented with collaborators about this and they’ve noticed a trend themselves.
Over the last month or so I’ve been the victim of people who suck at follow through. Some of these people are self-employed and others represent their employer. Unfortunately for them, opportunities were wasted because they didn’t follow through with me even when I reached out to them myself. The worst are people who are looking for you and then don’t follow through; they suck. They’re prone to leave people hanging, and you start doubting they’ll come through the next time around.
Back in the day when I was running Blu Maya I developed a list of people and organizations with their respective contact information that from my perspective thought and acted in ordinary ways, that sucked at follow through and bullshit people and businesses; I called it the shit list.
I developed this list for the following reasons:
- If a prospect wanted to bullshit us, or thought we were bullshitting them, I referred them to the list;
- It helped me position my so called “competition” as below average in all the things we were great at;
- It sent prospects an explicit signal as to what Blu Maya and its members was about;
- It sent a clear signal to any new member and collaborator of Blu Maya as to what we don’t stand for.
It’s very simple: if you represent a company and you show bad follow through, your employer has bad follow through. If you are self employed and you have bad follow through, your business has bad follow through.
Bad follow through limits your impact
To hit the nail further for you, here’s what happens when you or your organization sucks at follow through:
- You are perceived as less trustworthy and therefore are quickly forgotten;
- You’re easily doubted;
- You miss out on opportunities;
- You fail to create genuine relationships;
- You create a habit of inconsistency in yourself;
- You reject greatness.
People remember how you treat them, not what you say! For me, I start doubting you and your company’s leadership effectiveness if you suck at follow through.
Let me put it this way: most people don’t expect excellent follow through; they’ve just learned to put up with it.
But I haven’t, and I don’t believe anyone else should. And with so many people and organizations sucking at follow through it opens areas of opportunity for those of us who are excellent at it.
If you or your organization sucks at follow through, take note of the following: Being great at follow through doesn’t require brains, it requires commitment, awareness and thoughtfulness. As I’ve said before, if you can’t out-think then out-behave.
So if you’re thinking of starting your entrepreneurial journey but constantly make excuses that life got in the way or that you forgot to follow up; don’t do it. Look for a partner(s) who don’t suck at follow through and that you complement them in other ways.
Follow through is the simplest thing, but it tells you everything about someone. If you want to be perceived as trustworthy, make an effort at following through; your reputation depends on it.
To help make your entrepreneurial journey more simple, on my next post I will give you some tips on how to detect and deal with people who suck at follow through. Also, to help ease all of our collective pain please share this post with people who suck at follow through; you’ll be doing us all a favor.