Whether you’re learning to swing a golf club, baseball bat or tennis racquet, coaches always emphasize the importance of follow-through. It’s not just hitting the ball that matters, it’s how you continue your swing once contact is made.
The same thing applies in job interviews, networking, sales and almost any work situation: without purposeful follow-through on your actions and interactions with others, you won’t really be able to reach your professional potential.
“Failure to meet deadlines, honor commitments, monitor staff, return calls and keep track of long-term projects is the most underrated cause of chaos and failure in business life,” writes Stephanie Winston in Organized for Success.
So often we feel we’ve completed a task because the action of it is “done,” but we underemphasize how powerful it is to continue developing, tracking and monitoring operations and relationships even after they’ve been set in place. As Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan note in Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, “Follow-through is the cornerstone of execution, and every leader who’s good at executing follows through religiously. Following through ensures that people are doing the things they committed to do, according to the agreed timetable.”