Have you ever been in a situation where you literally had a $1,000,000 lead for the company you work for? You excitedly pass this huge prospect for new business to a partner or supervisor. You Ask about a month later if they landed the project only to hear, … “Oh I’m sorry. I dropped the ball on that one. I never followed up with your prospect.”

All you can think is, “What!? … What!? #$!%!*@!” So you run back to your desk to call your contact. You need to see if anything can be salvaged. Your contact is short with you and understandably upset. Not outwardly but you can cut the tension in the air with a knife. They went out of their way to sell their office on using your services, to give you a little something, and they end up scrambling for a replacement. You made him look bad to the others in the office.

So what now. You’re upset, but you can’t charge the partners office, the guy who dropped the proverbial ball!, and pitch them out the window.

You learn and change. You learn that it is up to you to have a plan. You learn that in life if you merely hand off, you are leaving yourself open to someone else’s failure.

Look back on what transpired. It is very easy to point at the other guy and say, “If he only made the call. Why didn’t he follow up.” Even more so you should be saying, “If this was such a large prospect, WHAT WERE YOU DOING TO MAKE SURE THE PROJECT WAS LANDED.” A 4 to 6 week followup does not cut it. You need to pass the lead, then follow up with both client and sales person. Stay on top of of what is going on. Ask your sales guy questions, SMART ones like, “So after we do this project, do you think they would be interested in an ongoing support package for all 8 facilities?” Get them thinking that this is really a big deal too.

Now I’ll pull back a bit. You cannot ride everyone to make them get your agenda completed. You have pick your battles and fight when it’s right. Use this as a strategy, a means to an end goal. Too much and your office will hate you, not enough and your client will hate you then move to your competitor. Balance. Planning.

Having a plan can often keep bad things from happening or looking on the other side will keep you flush with good things. Often a plan can be the mere thought of something with a start and end result. Just by think something through you have created a plan that you will work toward without going through the process of writing it down and outlining or profiling. If you stop and think things through you are getting ahead. If you write lists of things that need to be done to get to an end result you are really detailing the finer points. But when you get the time to write a summary with steps in the plan and the conclusion you have a real tool to work with.

Making a plan is as simple as creating an outline. Expand the definition of each outline item. Insert the steps to complete each task and put it to a timeline.

So when anyone who has influence on your life fails and it affects you in a negative way, you could have limited the effects by being proactive. Pause for a moment. This is not a catch all one size fits all. Mostly, it can be limited. Example, Call people to confirm appointments the day before. Make sure you always have an extra, that is extra $20 or $50 in your pocket somewhere. When approaching a blind corner anywhere, slowdown and swing wide away from the blind spot. Don’t tailgate…

So now that you know that you are in control of your own life, what are you going to do? Ah nice read or a make plan and follow through. Did you know that a 1% increase in anything per week will net you a 67% increase over the course of a year. Now do that every year or every other year. Small change can have large cascading effects.