“Follow through.” We hear this term in sports, in business, and in life, but what does this concept really mean and why does it matter? The importance of follow through is prominent everywhere, but especially throughout your career. Following through can be the difference between solidifying a partnership, and losing a potential client, and if you’re not taking this into account, you’re making a big mistake.
No one should have to hunt you down
Whether it’s for a potential job opportunity or someone is looking to hire you for your services, you never want someone to feel as though they have to hunt you down. If you want to cultivate relationships and establish trust, communicate clearly and in a timely manner. If someone feels as though they have to hunt you down to get an answer, they more than likely won’t want to work with you. Be the one to follow through with them! Follow up to a conversation, send a quick reminder for a meeting, or send an email with highlights from your previous phone call. If someone can see your reliability, this will help establish you as a reputable source.
Do what you say you will do
This sounds like common sense, but it happens far less than one might hope. If you say that you will call or meet at a certain time, be on time. It’s known that being late negatively affects your reputation so make sure that this isn’t the case.
Similarly, if you say that you’re going to send a recap email after a phone call, send it. If someone expects something from you, making them wait will negatively impact their impression of you.
Under-promise and over-deliver
It’s a simple concept that will get you far in your career and in life. Doing what you say you will is the root of this, but taking it a step further and doing more than someone expects from you will greatly benefit your reputation.
For instance, one may expect a thank you note after an interview, but if you send a thank you note and some ideas to improve business based on a conversation during the interview, you’ll be an extremely impressive candidate. Similarly, if you tell someone that you will have their product or service ready in five days, but get it ready in four, you are underpromising and overdelivering to benefit all parties.
Following through with your employees, peers, potential clients, and potential partners will ensure that you establish trust in your relationship and it will also pave the path for clear communication. If you can set the tone of clear and professional communication from the beginning, this will benefit you throughout the working relationship.
Similarly, when you follow through, you’re showing that you have respect and professionalism, two concepts which seem to be dwindling in our society. Following through with others will help further develop your reputation and pave the way for your career.