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How Wi l l You Fol low Up?

Always agree on how often and by what method you’ll follow up

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on the assignment. It could be a simple email confirming the




completion of a project. It might be a full report in a team or

family meeting. More often than not, it comes down to progress

checks along the way.

It’s actually fairly easy to build follow-up methods into the

assignment. For example: “Call me on my cell phone when you

finish your homework. Then you can go play with friends.


Or perhaps you’ll prefer to rely on milestones: “Let me know

when you’ve completed your library research. Then we’ll sit down

and look at the next steps.” Milestones, of course, must be linked

to a drop-dead date. “Let me know as soon you’ve completed the

research component of this project. You’ve got until the last week

in November, but if you finish earlier, give me a call.”

Remember, if you want people to feel accountable, you must

give them an opportunity to account. Build an expectation for

follow-up into every assignment.


Once again, a proverb comes to mind. “One dull pencil is worth

six sharp minds.” Don’t leave your hard work to memory. If

you’ve gone to the effort to complete a crucial conversation,

don’t fritter away all the meaning you created by trusting your

memories. Write down the details of conclusions, decisions, and

assignments. Remember to record who does what by when.

Revisit your notes at key times (usually the next meeting) and

review assignments.

As you review what was supposed to be completed, hold peo­

ple accountable. When someone fails to deliver on a promise, it’s

t ime for dialogue. Discuss the issue by using the STATE skills we

covered in Chapter 7. By holding people accountable, not only

do you increase their motivation and ability to deliver on prom­

ises. but you create a culture of integrity.





Turn your successful crucial conversations into great decisions

and united action by avoiding the two traps of violated expecta­

tions and inaction.

Decide How to Decide

• Command. Decisions are made without involving others.

• Consult. Input is gathered from the group and then a subset


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