Over Follow-ups: A Common MistakeSaqib Javed John, PMP, PMI-ACP, ITIL
Just as “less than required” may not be an acceptable option, similarly “more than required” can be equally painful. Over follow-up is one of the common mistakes in the professional world. People may be busy for some genuine reasons and need some appropriate time to respond. Don’t appear as desperate and don’t convert the follow-up into nightmares. it’s a bad idea to hound someone with repeated follow ups.
Follow-ups is very serious activity and has a broad range of parameters including time-sensitivity, sense of urgency, valuable pitch, tone of the message, knock at the right door or stand on the right window, approach the right person who has decision power. In order to standardize the follow-ups activity, keep revising the attitude, formation, and overall look-n-feel of messages, letters, texts, emails and calls that will increase the probability of getting listened to and responded to.
No doubt, the concept of follow-up is the key to run a successful business but requires a greater control over communication. Rightful, logical, well analyzed and well prepared follow-ups make a huge difference and could become a game changer but inappropriate and mundane follow-ups may cause damage.
Follow ups must be practical and professional, which should also present good intentions and good practices of the organization. Optimize the count, cadence and calendar of the follow-ups and stick with that as a policy.
People mostly follow each other extensively at all levels. However, I would advise that don’t push, never sound like a robot, never give feel of dictation and rudeness, in fact, give respect while making follow-ups and make responses more beneficial, and make your and others life easy.
Communication at whole, presents the work culture and ethics of an organization, and similarly an unorganized over follow-ups will frame a negative impression about you and your organization. No stones are unturned therefore asking too many times can make people deaf against your follow ups.
The real generic protocol of governance is to organize and automate the responsibilities and accountabilities. Evolve some processes and policies to create self-responsibility and self-discipline around both internal and external follow-ups.
Automation is good to stay organized and efficient, but in follow-ups, it’s really very tricky. If ‘No-Response’ is a pain point then over-follow-ups equally carry the risk to make your clients, employees, peers and boss more annoying.
No need to be over defensive but at the same time extensive follow-ups could be a waste of time, hence, give due respect to this activity and turn the truth. Because organized follow-ups really make the difference.
For the corporate and businesses, it’s extremely important to establish a balance between potential prospect, follow-ups and persistent credibility. Irrespective of any specific business, work nature or culture, in a bigger spectrum, more important is to follow work ethics.