It’s February! Time flies, spring is around the corner, the crocus almost blooms and January, the month of the New Year resolutions, is already behind us. So we can forget about those resolutions and go back to “normal” again.
Did I just hear you making sounds of relief?
Well, I’m sorry to have to interrupt your feeling of relief: February is the month of persistence! Now it is time to show that you were serious about all those courageous new plans you had. No time to relax and go back to the old 2015 standard of normal. Persistence is required to solidly root the new 2016 standard of normal!
Obviously, this does not only apply to your New Year resolutions, it applies to anything you would like to change or achieve. Just when you think that you can relax, it is the moment to push through to achieve your goals.
“Follow up” is an essential step towards reaching achievement of your plans. Whether those plans are to stop things, to change your behavior or to achieve new goals, to follow up is the cornerstone to success.
When you follow up with your colleagues or stakeholders about your plans, the process of following up will keep you accountable. It will show your stakeholders that you are serious about your plans, it will help silence their skepticism and it helps you to measure your progress.
In the article “Leadership is a Contact Sport” Marshall Goldsmith describes the importance of following up in leadership development. Based on a study with 11.480 managers, Marshall highlights how following up turns out to be essential. Those leaders who consistently followed up with their co-workers showed the highest perceived change in their development.
So how do you follow up?
Follow up is simple; you just have to make sure that you reach out to your co-workers or stakeholders in a consistent matter and ask them for feedback.
Follow up is not easy. It requires courage and humility to be open and non-judgmental to the feedback you’re asking for. It requires discipline to be consistent and to stay strong on embedding it into your plans.
Follow up becomes easier when you work with a partner. Working in collaboration with a colleague who keeps you accountable, while you keep him/her accountable, can be a good start. When you work with a coach or mentor follow-up becomes a structural part of the system that is geared towards your personal development.
So, February is the month to push through and follow up is a proven way to help you do so. What are you going to do, to be consistent in your follow up?