The Scientific Way to Increase Follow-Through from 35% to 91%

People who simply intend to do hard things fail about 65% of the time. Think about the last time you intended to have a tough conversation with a team member. Did you find ‘good’ reasons to avoid it?

What if you could increase the likelihood of follow-through from 35% to 91%?

Notebook and pen.

Write down how, when, and where you will do the thing you've been putting off.

The power of time and place:

Chances of follow-though increase nearly 3X when you develop a three-step plan of execution.

Write down the how, when, and where you will do the thing you’ve been putting off.

Note: If you genuinely don’t want to go to the gym, no amount of planning will help.

5 success factors that ensure follow-through:

#1. Tell someone your plan.

If you want to get something done, tell someone you respect that you’re going to do it.

#2. Create accountability.

Ask a colleague to ask you if you got it done. You could say, “Hey Mary, I’ve been putting off giving constructive feedback to an employee. Would you ask me how that’s going before we go home today?”

Take accountability to the next level by recruiting a respected higher-up to ask you if you got it done.

#3. Include others.

Suppose you have colleagues who are also putting off challenging tasks.

  1. Designate Wednesday as complete-a-challenging-task-day.
  2. Declare your intentions.
  3. Describe the time and place you will execute.

Take accountability to the next level by setting an after action report before you take action.

#4. Practice with a colleague.

Invite a colleague to roleplay the challenging task with you. If it’s a tough conversation, ask them to bring up objections.

  • Discuss how you will show up with compassion.
  • Describe how you will balance challenge and support.

#5. Connect with purpose.

Fitness, for example, is about enjoying life, not simply painful exercise. Purpose answers the question, “What am I really doing?”

What helps you follow-through?

How might the above ideas translate into enhancing follow-through for team members?

Don’t miss: “Did you KNow that Good Intentions Can Defeat you.”

Bonus material:

How to Get Hard Things Done with Less Struggle | Everyday Power

Eat that Frog, Brian Tracy

How to Get Your Team to Follow Through After a Meeting (hbr.org)