Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Consistent Follow Through

“You’ve got to be more consistent in your follow through.” These words were spoken to me early on in my bowling career. Well, I should say my bowling hobby, since I sure don’t make any money doing it.

See, for a bowler, follow through is an extremely important aspect of the game. You can have a great approach, a brand new ball, but if you stop your arm as soon as you lay the ball down, it will slide out and not make it back to the 1-3 pocket, thereby limiting your chance of a strike. Follow through is what puts the revs on the ball, and what allows the ball to turn over and head for the pocket. Of course, I could “geek out” here and explain the other aspects of bowling, like oil pattern, ball speed, ball selection (including cover stock choice, weight block design, radius of gyration, differential, skid/flip), the geometry of line selection; but I’m not going to do that. What’s important here (and my main point of this post), is that follow through is extremely important.

Of course, isn’t follow through extremely important in leadership as well? I found myself asking that question recently when I realized that I am becoming a typical “manager,” in that I talk a good game. However, true leadership is distinguished by not only what you say, but also what you do; your follow through. That is where I have begun to struggle, and where I am focusing my efforts; following through with action, on the words I choose to say.

How important is follow through?

  • Follow through builds trust

  • Follow through builds respect (even when that follow through is on a disciplinary action)

  • Follow through builds confidence

It shows that you will do what you say you will do, and that is what people look for in a leader. They don’t want someone who is all fluff and no substance. Follow through is extremely important, and to your followers, even the small things matter!

I’ve got to be honest here: I have lacked in my follow through the last several months. It’s a weakness that I have found, that I am going to be pouring my focus into. So, how are you on follow through? What keeps you from following through? I’ll have more thoughts on this in a later post, but I want to know your thoughts now!

note: image courtesy of

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J. Erik Potter said...

I'd say one of my weaknesses is the consistency aspect you refer to. I know what I "should do" but depending on several factors: mood, time of day, the person, I fail to consistently follow through with colleagues.

I think the biggest thing is just being more aware of how you are perceived, then making a conscious effort to strive for consistency regardless of the situation.

BTW, I had to google oil pattern. . .new connecting word for Joanna.

Eric Peterson said...

Erik - Consistency is the key. And yet, I know many (myself included) that lack that consistency. It is hard. It takes a little effort in the beginning. Hopefully, though, as we make it a part of the routine, it will become second nature.

Oil patterns: Did you look at the PBA patterns (shark, cheetah, scorpion, etc) - It really is a complex thing that includes length of oil, oil mix, forward application, reverse application.

I enjoy talking "bowling" with people that aren't aware of how much thought and mechanics can go into bowling....It really isn't just grabbing a ball and throwing it down the lane (for me anyway)! However, I do know people that score rather well doing it that way!