There are a handful of commitments a leader must possess without exception. These commitments are non-negotiables—points on which you refuse to waver, regardless of what comes your way. One of these key commitments needs to be relentless follow-through.
A leader in possession of relentless follow-through does not allow things to slip. They don’t promise to take care of a task immediately, then put it off until next week. They don’t promise to call someone back and never do it. They know that doing those things would cause them to lose the faith of their teams, peers, and customers. They know those who do not practice relentless follow-through lose out on opportunities because they cannot be depended upon.
Football player Ray Lewis once said that “Greatness is a lot of small things done well. Day after day, workout after workout, obedience after obedience, day after day.”
This premise holds true in every industry. While success might appear to arrive in big, sweeping moments, in truth, it results from a collection of small, consistent efforts. Success is a phone call returned in a timely manner or a promise fulfilled. While these actions might seem insignificant when viewed individually, together they add up.
The Relentlessness Effect
Organizations that have built up significant brand loyalty over the years are well aware of the impact relentless follow-through can have. They apply this mindset to everything they do, and it leads to an enthusiastic customer base that is unwilling to go elsewhere. Organizations that achieve this level of success are:
- Relentless in their attention to detail
- Relentless in their commitment to service
- Relentlessly aware of what their customers want
- Relentless in how they express gratitude to customers
These aren’t commitments they attend to in spurts. Some organizations might prioritize follow-through one moment, then shift focus the next. As their relentlessness fades, they begin to lose their customers’ loyalty.
People tend to tire of brands very quickly when they perceive the extra, special something is gone.
A naturally occurring pattern
One area where you can see this dynamic very clearly is in the world of retail clothing. A brand such as Forever 21 might be extremely popular one moment, with lines stretching all the way out the door. Then, the magic fizzles, and shoppers move on to the next exciting thing. It’s a naturally occurring lifecycle for many businesses.
Yet, some organizations do manage to generate enthusiasm for decades. The Dallas Cowboys have remained relevant for years, providing fans with world-class experiences that people want to participate in over and over again. The Dallas Cowboys managed to disrupt the pattern of growth and decline with their commitment to relentless follow-through.
As a leader, one of your roles is to maintain altitude — to ensure the energy that comes at the beginning of brand loyalty is sustained over the long term. Because once things begin to tip downward, it’s very difficult to recapture that initial excitement. Most of the time you only get one chance to maintain high levels of brand loyalty.
When the attention to quality disappears, when the details are no longer prioritized, and the attention is no longer relentless, people tend to grow quickly frustrated. One bad experience can prevent them from ever returning or send them complaining to social media or review sites.
When one bad experience has the power to erode people’s trust, you cannot afford to let anything slide.
Creating a Relentless Team
It’s not enough for a leader to commit to relentless follow-through. You also need the support of a team that’s equally dedicated to that principle.
When hiring, and throughout the recruitment process, search for candidates who embody relentlessness. Consider the fact that, from the moment you hire them, those people will become brand ambassadors.
Organizations with intense brand loyalty know how important it is to start new team members off on the right foot. They set aside time to share company values and the motivation behind those values. They shine a spotlight on the brand’s commitment to relentless follow-through and what that commitment looks like when put into action.
As a leader, your goals should include:
- Demonstrating consistent guidance to your team
- Inspiring ongoing brand loyalty among your customers
- Building a team of enthusiastic brand ambassadors
None of these things happen on their own. They don’t take care of themselves, so you cannot afford to leave them to chance. Rather, commit to relentless follow-through in every aspect of your work, and the rewards will be considerable.
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Author, Speaker, and Change Agent.
Chris leads a dynamic team of passionate change agents who are dedicated to partnering with organizational executives to create cultures that inspire, engage and ignite the best in people. Our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams and align operation practices to delighting the customer and drive breakthrough results.