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Tips for Managers: Follow Through, Communication, Sticking to the Plan, and Focus!

Here were three questions that came up in a recent presentation that I did around building and leading a winning team and some of my thoughts…

How do I get people to follow through?

For inspiring follow through I like to think about the eight ton elephant who is restrained by a tiny piece of rope. Trainers have conditioned the large animal to avoid even attempting to break free from it’s simple bonds even though it could do so with ease. The key is to make the idea of not following through more effort than following through. You can do this with three easy steps…

Step 1: Get a crystal clear promise agreement of the outcome expected and time frame.

Step 2: Make it clear that any “breakdown of promises” will lead to a specific follow up procedure.

Step 3: Outline this “breakdown of promises” procedure in such a way that it would be easier for them to follow through on their promises than to have to go through the “breakdown of promises” procedure.

If done correctly you likely won’t have to go through the “breakdown of promises” procedure more than once with any individual. If that occurs, well then you likely don’t have the right team member.


How do I get people to communicate better and stick to the plan?

Communication is the most frequent cause for breakdowns. To inspire good communication, set up a “boomerang system.” This means that every communication that goes out has an expected and anticipated return. This is as simple as adding in 2 simple steps to each communication.

1. When should I expect to hear back from you on this?

2. If I don’t hear back on X day/time, then I will follow up with you on Y day/time.

If you find yourself consistently in step 2 then it’s time to declare a communication breakdown with the individual and execute the “breakdown of promises” procedure outlined above.


I am feeling as if I am distracted by everything else rather than doing one thing at a time

Yes…Focus. For the solution to this, watch  (and enjoy) this You Tube video…J (Newhart video) (watch it)

I have a client who runs a gym and was facing the same challenge. I asked him, “When you are going to work out do you just walk into the gym and immediately start lifting weights?”

He said, “No, there’s a warm up process and stretching. Then I have to make sure I have all of the right equipment and my workout routine planned out. Finally, I follow a routine before each workout to make sure I have eaten the proper food and hydrated enough to sustain me through my workout without crashing.”

I said, “Oh, so I assume you do that same process when you settle in for a work session in your office.”

He said, “Um no, I just sit down and start working”

Focus doesn’t always just happen to us. We have to create and plan for it. Build a routine that allows you to warm up and ease into your focus period. Treat it like you would for a workout. Set up the tasks you will accomplish along with the time frame, the equipment, and the routine. Also be sure to hydrate appropriately and fuel your body with the right foods.

This really works.

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