Four Ways to Improve on Following Through

Joe Weinlick
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For managers and business professionals, following through is crucial. When you consistently deliver on your promises and declarations, you create a reputation for reliability. As a result, your superiors will trust you with increased responsibility and more important projects.

If you have trouble following through, you may be overcommitting yourself. When you're overloaded with projects and responsibilities, you're much more likely to allow some items to fall by the wayside. One way to improve your follow-through is to lighten your load. For management professionals, the easiest way to do so is to delegate as much work as possible to your team. As an added benefit, delegation also demonstrates trust in your employees, which can increase loyalty. When you're figuring out how to grow your business, strong employee relationships are invaluable.

When it comes to following through on a promise, either to yourself or another person, you may be your own worst enemy. If you decide to arrive at work early every day for a month, for example, you might begin questioning your motives and talking yourself out of your commitment. To avoid this internal mental war, the "Harvard Business Review" suggests that you stop thinking. Instead of second-guessing your decision, stop the doubting thoughts as soon as they start. Distract yourself with an activity; better yet, start working on your goal immediately. When you stop the self-sabotaging internal conversation, you'll find it easier to follow through.

For many managers and high-level business professionals, following through without accountability can be difficult. If you have trouble keeping your word, find several people who will hold you accountable. Rather than choosing members of your team, turn to people in positions of power: bosses, vendors, or trusted clients. In many cases, the added pressure of disappointing a mentor can be enough to keep you motivated. When you fail to follow through, the Fox Small Business Center advises that you go to your chosen person and take full responsibility. Admitting failure can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, and the memory of that discomfort can help you improve your follow-through in the future.

In business, vagueness is the enemy of follow-through. To make following through easier, avoid generalities. Instead of promising to help move a colleague's career forward, make a specific promise to introduce your colleague to a valuable industry contact by a specific date. This is particularly effective as you are learning how to grow your business; meeting deadlines and specific goals can help you build a positive, professional reputation.

Following through is a crucial skill for managers and business professionals. By making small changes to your business practices, you can increase your follow-through and accomplish goals with ease.



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