Those of us who spent our youthful years playing sports have surely heard a coach or two say “FOLLOW THROUGH!” Whether we were playing baseball, following through after hitting a pitch, continuing the swing of a golf club after striking the ball off the tee or trying to perfect the spin when passing a football, a key part to being successful was how well we followed through. While we probably didn’t realize it at the time, with those two words, our coaches were teaching us a lifelong lesson and sharing the key to being successful in everything we do.
We are all leaders in one capacity or another, the degree to which we are able to consistently follow through on our goals, commitments and tasks will ultimately determine just how successful we become. While it is often easier said than done and requires a certain level of self-discipline, the process of following through is the best way to ensure we see our goals, commitments and tasks to their conclusion.
In leading ourselves and others it is important to understand following through is only one part of our responsibility, following up being the second part. Following through and following up are two sides of the same coin. Although the concept of following through may seem different from the concept of following up, they are in fact very closely related. Following through helps us as individuals reach our goals and be successful, following up helps those we lead reach their goals and be successful. Following through helps us and those we lead stay on track in the moment or immediate future. Following up helps ensure we and those we lead remain on track and stay on track until reaching our intended outcome. Following through builds trust in ourselves but also those who we’ve made commitments to. Following up demonstrates the long term commitment to the successful outcomes of our own objectives and those of the people we lead.