Most people and businesses are event driven. The excitement of getting started on something new, culminating with an event – where all the hard work will be recognized (new product rollouts, new client engagements, successful case studies, etc.) – is what many business leaders live for.
In watching elite athletes, however, the exceptional do not sit on the finish line. They focus on the cooldown, stretching, and nutrition to bring them full circle to the next race. They bring their best to each competition or game day, but their performance is continually fueled by the rigorous training and preparation they do in between each event.
Too often in business, we target the finish line as the end, without a view to where we are going next. What is your follow up plan? How will you drive business deals to a close and ensure actions are taken and completed? In our work with Customer Advisory Boards, we spend time with clients during the starting phase focused on how to close the loop with next steps and actions after each Board meeting. It is that close-out work that separates a great Board meeting from an average one.
Here are some tips for going beyond the finish line:
- Identify a person or team who will focus on what happens after you hit the finish line, someone who oversees the thank you notes, the follow up actions, the next steps.
- Set up a post-event debrief, preferably immediately after. Keep your executive team in the room and do a 15-minute stand up. What is next? Who is running point?
- Customize follow ups as much as possible. Everyone gets a generic thank you – differentiating your follow up with a specific note of actions and next steps shows you listened and are serious about making things happen.
- Build upon the success. Take a moment and then start to think about where to go next based on where you have been.
If you are looking to differentiate your meeting from others – follow through. What sets the greats apart is what they do after the finish line.