SMART Follow-Up is everything in business

This very subject is very close to my own heart. The reason being that during my entire career at the corporate level, I was always considered to be quite good with my follow ups. Precisely, the purpose ofwriting this article is to share my personal experiences and guide the younger generation how they can be more effective with this tool. Follow-up activity from someone else to you is called follow-up. The purpose of follow-up is to provoke a response from the project lead. This you can do in a simple way, such as by contacting the concerned person (through a phone call, email or in-person meeting) seeking an update so that one can ensure a timely response.

Doing this follow-up should be consistent because in the business world, follow-up is needed so that project can reach the target and on target. In addition, this way can also help us in building rapportwith people we work with. If we fail to do so, people will lose sight on the tasks assigned to them, unless they are ethically high on moral grounds

In this article, we shall discuss five key tips for our readers’ consideration:

1. Set Clear Expectations

The manager, at the very outset, must spell it out in too many words, the expectations from the project lead or his/her team with timelines and resources (both human and material) together. This is a mandatory step, else, the team will be found struggling throughout.

Helping a multi-person team create a single deliverable requires everyone have an understanding of both their responsibilities and deadlines. How one can expect something to happen if no one knows about it? By creating a timeline, sending out meeting notes, and clarifying all project details, one canequip his/her team with all the information they need to prepare and to plan.

2. Clear Communication

Needless to say that we all are not born identical, so let’s learn to recognise this diversity. Chances are our teams will be filled with a variety of nationalities, work styles and personalities, so do not be surprised if the same method of follow-up does not work for everyone. Spend time learning about what works best for each person on your team and adapt your approach accordingly. Also, do not be afraid to get creative! It does not matter if you leave a post-it note, send an email, or a WhatsApp message early morning as long as the task gets accomplished.

3. Let’s Not Cry Wolf

Some managers are always found restless for one reason or the other. This is their way of showing off how concerned they are with their projects. This can happen due to the fact that they don’t want to feel embarrassed in front of their seniors for not meeting a timeline and as a result they assign unreasonable deadlines to their project teams. Eventaully, they term every task as urgent and important.

This isn’t a good approach at all. Yes, everything must have a deadline, and chances are it will not be that far away. That still does not mean everything needs to be done by tomorrow. Terming every other task or a project as most urgent will hurt your credibility in front of the team. Reserve your urgent requests for the true emergencies, and your team will thank you

4. Take Ownership

Keeping a close eye on the project assigned is part of your role as a manager, and deep down everyone understands this even if they push back a bit. Listen to your team lead and the members and accept their feedback, but do not let any negativity slow you down. Stay firm on the things you know are important and keep going.

The follow-up necessary to complete a deliverable is just as critical as the deliverable itself; it is as specific a task as doing keyword research or creating ad copy. If you commit to your deadline and take your role in the process seriously, your team will flourish.

5. Recognition

Everyone likes to be appreciated for their hard work, and your team is no exception. Yes, what you are asking of them is part of their job, but you will be shocked how much more enjoyable things become (and quicker they get done!) when you acknowledge their contributions.

Timely team recognition is something that is significantly important when comes to project management. Managers must learn to give credit where its due and on time. Whatever method you use, saying thank you after completion of the project or a task assigned is important. By doing so, you will provide a good experience for your teams.

Bottomline

We must understand that every organisation, regardless of the industry, prospers or fails on its performance. Fundamentals like providing a great product or service and reliable customer service and adapting to the inevitable changes within each industry are among the best practices all experts can agree upon. But to customers both internal and external, one simple act stands above the rest: the Follow-Up.

Also understand the difference between pestering and following up. Follow-up is not a time-consuming process or a wasted activity. In addition, doing follow-up also provides many benefits and teaches our colleagues how to work professionally as smart follow-up minimizes wastage — both human and material.

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