What are the key elements of leadership? What are the vital roles of a manager? How do you develop people to their fullest, most effective selves? Mentor others (and yourself!) to greatness?
The answers are multiple BUT teaching and role modeling follow through and follow up are crucial to all of the above. Communicating closure is critical to the proper completion of any task or project. Few truer words have ever been spoken than ‘The devil is in the details.’ The title of this blog, ‘I was left with the impression it was resolved’ was drawn from an email responding to an inquiry about a situation.
Obviously, the issue had not been resolved and insufficient confirmation/follow up was a factor. While I believe primary responsibility resides with the higher levels of the Chain of Responsibility (The Buck Stops Here), a contributing factor can be when someone ‘holds things too close to the vest’ i.e. does not clearly and timely and as often as needed communicate about a vital issue (sometimes, in the hurley burley of life it takes repeated messages to get heard, at times adding volume and urgency if appropriate but never, ever being Chicken Little). Yes, a leader/manager should get clear, unequivocable closure re resolution. At the same time, it behooves all of us to ask for help when truly needed, when we have done all we can do and a bit more, when we have gone the extra mile and it is still not sufficient to complete a mission critical task sufficiently.
“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, it’s deadly.” – Mark Sanborn, Sanborn & Associates
“(Closure) conversations (are) intended to complete or close the loop on any requests or promises still open, actions taken (or not), or results produced (or not). Whenever a promise is made, it creates a commitment to make something happen by a certain time. Closure conversations close out those commitments by creating ‘endings’ that acknowledge what has and has not been done and summarize the status of things.” – Laurie and Jeffrey Ford, ‘The Four Conversations’
“Clear, simple goals don’t mean much if nobody takes them seriously. The failure to follow through is widespread in business, and a major cause of poor execution. You need robust dialogue to surface the realities of the business. You need accountability for results—discussed openly and agreed to by those responsible—to get things done. You need follow-through to ensure the plans are on track.” – Ram Charan and Larry Bossidy, ‘Execution’
“Nobody can keep all their commitments but everyone can manage all their commitments by being upfront about the ones they can’t. Paradoxically, being upfront about our inability to keep a commitment builds trust faster than otherwise. Closure conversations give everyone the opportunity to manage their commitments and their stakeholder relationships.” – Sheril Mathews, ‘Communicating Effectively using Closure Conversations’ https://www.leadingsapiens.com/communicating-effectively-closure-conversations/
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier