Why Follow Up Matters


 

Chester Elton is one of today’s most influential voices in workplace trends. He is a #1 bestselling author of the books, All In, The Carrot Principle, and The Best Team Wins, which have sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide. Chester is also my great friend, a member of our 100 Coaches organization, and during our interview series, Chester will provide us with solutions to leaders looking to manage change, drive innovation, and lead a multi-generational workforce.

In this week’s interview, Chester shares with us his personal experience with why following up with others matters when we are trying to change our “bad habits”. Below is an excerpt from our interview.

Marshall: I’m here with my great friend, Chester Elton. Chester is a leadership and culture thought leader, recognized by Global Gurus and many other organizations, and he’s just a good guy. A member of our 100 Coaches organization, Chester is always trying to make the world a better place.

Also, I’m proud to say that Chester is an advocate of our Stakeholder Centered Coaching process and he is being coached! Chester, can you share some reflections with us about how this process works, not only in a business setting, but also in a family setting?

Chester: Thank you Marshall! Yes, in our work in culture, we always say, “Look, don’t leave all these best practices at work. Take them home!” And, that’s what I love about Stakeholder Centered Coaching. You challenged us one time at a 100 Coaches event. You said, “Ask your kids, ‘How can I be a better dad?’” So, I did. I sent out a little note – we’ve got a WhatsApp string for our kids. And, I said, “Hey, I’ve been in this course and I just want to know how can I be a better dad?”

Some of my kids said, “Oh, you’re the world’s greatest dad. Don’t change a thing.” One of my children, Brendan, he’s our thinker, our engineer, said, “You know, dad. When you come out to visit me at school, you usually invite a bunch of other people and we do stuff and that’s always fun. The problem is at the end of the day, you’re tired, so when it’s one-on-one time with me, I don’t feel like I really get your time.”

Marshall: That’s great feedback!

Chester: Yes, it is. So he says, “When I’m home for the holidays and stuff, I’ll come visit you in your office and you’re always multitasking. I don’t really feel like I’ve got 100% of your attention.” So, I said, “You know what? I’m gonna overcome that.”

This was early in my stakeholder training, and I forgot the followup part! I changed my behavior and a couple months went to Brendan, and said, “Hey, Brendan, you challenged me to focus on you when we are together and not multitask. How am I doing?” And, Brendan said, “I don’t know. Let me think about that.” “Thank you,” I said.

I hadn’t checked in with him, so he hadn’t thought about it. Over the next couple of weeks, Brendan came to my office and I said, “Hey Brendan, you notice that when you come into the office, your dad closes his laptop and focuses on you? Did you notice that it was just you and me doing things?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “You challenged me to change that. How am I doing?” He goes, “You know what, dad? You’re doing great.”

So it was this idea of checking in, following up, because if you just change your behavior, the perception doesn’t change. If you check in and ask for feedforward, there is a huge impact.

Marshall: Great! What I love about what you’re saying is, there is a difference between changing your behavior and that other person changing their perception. Because what really matters in life is not what we think we say, but what they hear.

Chester: Yes, absolutely! Thank you Marshall.

 

I just turned 70 on March 20! Thanks to so many people for helping me have a great life!