Yes, you heard it right – a ‘follow-up’ free culture! I not sure about you but I have certainly encountered cultures in organizations that work only if you ‘chase’ people to do what they are supposed to do or even share basic information that advances the firm’s interest.
Recently, an internal communicator mailed me a few issues he was trying to ‘fix’ and one item on the list – ‘follow-up’ culture caught my attention immediately. This is how he describes it:
“Many times, the individuals require many follow-ups in order to get something done or seek a relevant update. This concern was identified across organization and identified as one that needed our highest priority.”
Faced this issue at your workplace or as an internal communicator? You are not alone!
There are many reasons offered for those unable to respond – lack of time, not a priority, not of interest or it ‘dropped off their radar.
This can be very often frustrating and leads to delays in getting things accomplished. Worse, it can make working arduous.
The argument is that if organizations have robust cultures where people are responsible they would do what they were expected to do without needing ‘pings’, ‘read-receipt’ notifications and reminders.
As internal communicators we are expected to program manage campaigns and communication and see them to completion. It isn’t as easy as it seeks to get things done. Following up to ensure nothing ‘falls between the cracks’ or that ‘no one drops the ball’ has become a part and parcel of work across the board. It is a time waster and also saps the energy of the individual who owns the initiative.
Very often the individual’s capabilities are measured on the basis of his or her ability to move the needle and follow-up incessantly!
So what can internal communicators do to ‘cleanse’ an organization of this culture or better still infuse a culture of ownership and responsibility?
Here are some pointers to make your organization’s culture ‘follow-up’ free.
– To begin, it is the ownership of the respective team or individual to coherently share the program’s objectives, plan and outcomes ahead of its launch.
– Invite feedback and incorporate elements that make sense.
– Get your leaders aligned and include staff while conceptualizing the mechanics of the program.
– Make the program outline available for all staff to view
– Call out the names of owners and key stakeholders
– Lastly, communicate progress and lists tasks that are behind schedule as well as the people who haven’t done what they were expected!
You will be amazed how quickly these laggards pick up speed and complete their tasks.
You can also look up an interesting model called organizational conversation which authors Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind share to reframe how leaders can make staff more committed to the workplace.
Have other ideas to rid the ‘follow-up’ culture? Share them here.