Follow through

Just as important as showing up to a meeting and remaining present (read: not checking your phone incessantly, having side conversations, etc.) is actually doing what you say you will.

Everyone has experiences where the person or people who agreed to complete a specific task or help with a project, campaign, or committee falls off the face of the earth leaving you hanging. It sucks. Yes, the person might get away with it, but eventually they will be on the hook with a trail of disappointed colleagues and friends in their wake.

If you’re attending a meeting, take notes. Pay close attention to what’s required or asked of you and what you agree to do. Write those things down. Next to the items you volunteered for or were assigned, write down who the contract person is and the deadline.

A quick note about deadlines, they aren’t flexible. Deadlines aren’t created to be mean or make you rush. Deadlines are in place to keep the projects moving at the intended pace.

This article from the University of Wisconsin Academic Leadership Support office outlines ways to increase follow through.

“If people don’t follow-through on action plans, tasks and decisions after the meeting ends, then one needs to question the value of having a meeting in the first place.” To take that statement to the logical next step, if the meeting isn’t valuable, are the people valuable? And if the person isn’t valuable enough to attend the meeting, are they valuable enough to keep on the payroll? Or in the case of volunteer organizations, keep as part of that organization?

The bottom line is, if you don’t think you can deliver, don’t volunteer. If you’re concerned about an assignment, talk about it with your supervisor or the person who assigned you the task, separately, outside of the meeting. But don’t ever, just not do something, especially without communicating why.

Have you ever had someone not follow through on a project or task?

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