The burden of ‘follow ups’

Bindu and I started on our ShikshaDaan Yatra almost a year ago. The purpose of the Yatra is to meet with our stakeholders in the higher education space, understand their varying needs and challenges, and come up with a model that can meet our ambitious goals. 

In these eleven months since we started our Yatra, we have met scores of individuals and institutions, representing a spectrum of our stakeholders. During this period we have also had to attend to other priorities like – getting the home at Hyderabad renovated, getting insurance money from Future Generali in lieu of the total loss incurred on the submerged Skoda Yeti in Chennai, obtaining a wifi and getting the same disconnected…the list is endless.

We have spent enormous amount of time in following up with each of the service provider and this is in spite of all these being paid services. Nothing was done for free. It’s not just the so called “labour” like the plumber or electrician that we spent time following up but even well educated, white collar folks require enormous follow up to get something done. 

Yes. We did meet a number of people from reputed corporate houses, senior folks who are founders of well known NGOs, senior management executives from industry and the like. We have had to call several times to just fix meetings, wait to meet them, follow up on what has been agreed to in the meeting… over and over again. We are still awaiting a mail receipt acknowledgement from a very reputed corporate in Chennai … Four weeks and counting :). 

This behaviour of so called professionals is truly unacceptable. If you have agreed on certain items and are expected to respond by a given timeline, you better do or at least  inform that there would be a delay. This is basic courtesy, or social etiquette 101. Just let us know. We spend enormous amount of time and effort in calling or emailing people to move things forward. What’s at the root of this behaviour? Is it plain indifference or poor time management skills or an inability to prioritise work or just bad attitude or organisational culture? Whatever be the reason, this behaviour puts a huge burden on the other person to follow up to get the task completed. And follow up is a waste of time … If only people did what they are supposed to do, everyone can complete their work in time and spend more time with their families, friends or pursuing their passion. More is the number of such professionals in an organisation, higher would be the suffering of the stakeholders, especially the customers, and sooner than later it would lead to loss of market share, maybe the market itself and ultimately the demise of the corporate. This is the small leak that ends up sinking the big ship ! 

So instead of putting the burden of never ending follow ups on your stakeholders and customers, better do your work within the agreed timelines … Otherwise your career and your organisations’ future is in grave danger.  


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