Everyday we make so many commitments talking near water cooler, during networking event, in a meetings or over the phone. Some of our commitments are urgent and important and we follow-up properly. There are other few commitments that we know are not so important for us or our job since we made those casually by saying that, “ I will get back to you on this” ….. and then we drop the ball.
While searching my twitter handle using online tool called topsy.com, I found out that Tim Sanders had selected my retweet and asked to have him contacted (How a retweet can enrich your library) to give out a book. This was a contest he ran during September 2009, and I found out about results in May 2010. I follow Tim on Twitter and had retweeted him.
Anyhow, I sent him a note in May 2010 referencing the contest and asking if I can still get the book although I was very late to contact? Guess what, I got an email from Tim enquiring about my mailing address so that he can ship me the book. I provided it and almost forgot about it.
Few days ago, I got another email from Tim checking if I have received the book or not? I actually have not. But the point is taking the time to follow-up. This follow-up raised Tim’s stock in my mind even higher.
Going the extra mile (by a person who might be super busy and owes nothing in return) reflects that person practices what he preaches. He is true to his brand.
Here are 4 points to remind us on closing the loop on our commitments we make casually -
- Always make a note of your commitments: I keep a small notebook handy and make a note against a hand drawn box that can be checked (kind of to-do list).
- Prioritize and record follow-up action: I evaluate what can wait and what should be attended right away based on my schedule.
- Take the action or delegate it: Do it and check the box on notebook by recording observations.
- Check that commitment is fulfilled: This is what I will be implementing. I will follow-up after I fulfill the commitment. If you delegated the task, verify that person delivered the results.
If you have made a commitment and its low in priority or you have found out that you can no longer fulfill it, just inform the person expecting from you and close the loop. Remember to follow-up and close the loop. Do not leave anything with loose ends. I guess this is one of the key ingredient to build brands.