A practical approach to tracking projects and getting things done
80% of success is just showing up.”– Woody Allen
Just when I thought we had covered the waterfront with respect to accountability, I’m reminded of the linchpin of true accountability – the very simple concept of follow up. During my recent travels among area CEOs, I’ve been repeatedly reminded of how remarkably little attention is paid to this simple concept.
Why do we ignore the follow up?
It seems so obvious that I wonder why I’m writing about it … and yet, routine follow up is often ignored in the hustle for the next opportunity or when there just isn’t another finger to put in the dike. The New York Times lamented recently about the lapse in our social manners reflected by people’s failure to respond to RSVP invitations, much of which I’d chalk up to this follow up laxity.
We don’t forget to follow up on our most important clients or prospects, but the falloff from there is precipitous. It’s a process that is halfheartedly pursued by so many that it’s no wonder so few things get done on time – or at all.
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Last time, we discussed how to create a responsible culture where each individual accepts accountability for their actions and decisions. In our discussion of this subject, we’ve ranged from the baseline of personal accountability to a broader organizational culture, to the battle-tested power of after action reviews. So, if the power of an accountable organization is so obvious, why aren’t we all doing it?
In “The Oz Principle,” a book by Craig Hickman (recently reissued in a revised and updated edition 10 years after its original publication), the overgrown roots of a victimization mentality is chronicled as one of the most corrosive forces in American business. Mr. Hickman pulls no punches in deriding the plight of victimization that he believes has a stranglehold on American industry.
How many of these lines have you heard during your business career?
* “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
* “That’s not my department.”
* “Someone should have told me not to do that.”
* “Why didn’t you ask me?”
* “Nobody’s followed up on this. It can’t be that important.”
Victimization is a corrosive force in American business
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