Jeremy was standing when I got to the courtyard. “I think I got it figured out,” he said. “You were right. I can tell you exactly when that unfinished report will hit my desk. Next Tuesday, because it is due next Wednesday.”
“And so, sometime on Tuesday, your teammate will realize it won’t (can’t) be done, go ask your boss what he should do and your boss will say what?” I smiled.
“My boss will say, give it back to Jeremy and he will get it done.” Now, it was Jeremy’s turn to smile.
“Why are smiling? You were pretty upset last week when it happened to you.”
Jeremy cracked up. “I know. It’s weird. When you know it is going to happen, it’s funny, like watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. You know the guy is going to smash into the wall and it’s funny.”
“So, what are you going to do differently, because next Tuesday, this will not be so funny?” I asked.
“Well, first I am going to set two follow-up meetings this week to make sure the project is kicked off and underway. Then next Monday, I will have a final follow-up meeting to get the last revision so I can review it on Tuesday. If we have a final touch-up, that will be okay. I guess it’s all in getting ahead of the curve.”
“You learned a valuable lesson about follow-up. It is the one place that most managers drop the ball and it is as simple as scheduling on your calendar.”