Commitment and follow through

I have a colleague in Canada who shared the following story with me. He talked about a very successful businessman who used to be part owner and CEO of a large company. After selling his part of the company, he went into the consulting field, thinking he could really help people in his industry. He flew everywhere, had lots of clients, and was well liked and respected. Despite all of that, he finally just retired completely. Why?

“Clients wouldn’t execute and do what I told them to do. It was like digging holes in the beach, and that gets tiring when you don’t see progress.”

When he asked my colleague for his opinion on this, here is the answer my colleague gave (and I don’t think it will surprise you): Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die. In other words, they want the results but often fail to lead and manage changes required to get there.

Here are a just a few suggestions for effective Leaders who do not want to fall into this trap. They are the ones who focus, commit, and follow through:

  1. Commitment

Create a commitment with a strong sense of urgency toward a clear, new, and required direction.

  1. Clear goals and priorities

Have a keen sense of the top four or five items on the agenda and consistently communicate these to your people. Speak simply and directly. The last thing you want is people scratching their heads about the message.

  1. Follow through/accountability

Crystal-clear goals have no meaning without accountability. Always hold people accountable — and yes, accountability done right is a people builder.

  1. Reality rules

Have a willingness and constant thirst for reality, rather than just hearing what matches with your made-up mind. “Let’s pretend” has never been a sound way to conduct business.

  1. Team engagement

Make sure you are doing whatever it takes to keep your team engaged. Everyone has opinions, complaints, corporate scars, and stories from the past that block their listening. They need to be guided through thinking things out on their own.

  1. Reward accomplishments

Reward the doers, of course. Achievers earn their recognition and those who do not meet performance standards should clearly understand why and what they need to do to succeed.

  1. Know yourself

Be real. Be authentic. Be self-aware. Be secure. Be humble. Whether you are the dynamic spokesperson or the behind-the-scenes, let-your-people-be-front-and-center kind of leader, always have a solid sense of self-direction.

So, don’t stop thinking about new ideas and opportunities. Don’t dig holes in the beach. Do make the commitment, and with your fully engaged team, get out there and follow through. As an anonymous thinker once said: “Successful people are the few who focus and then follow through.”

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