If you want to be a highly regarded powerhouse, all you have to do is be a chaser, not a chasee.
First, the definitions. The chaser is the person who is following up. “Let me chase him for that quote.” “I chased her for the specifications this morning; she said they’d be here by this afternoon.” “I’m calling to chase up on the invoice from three weeks ago. When can we expect payment?”
The chasee, obviously, is the one being chased.
And here are five reasons why it is transformative to become the chaser:
1. You become more on top of your work. When you follow up on things, you get current information on what’s happening and where potential delays and pitfalls might arise. You become proactive, not reactive.
2. The people you chase are more responsive. It is in our nature to be more active when we know we will be held accountable. A frequent response to being chased is, “Ah, it slipped my radar! I’ll take care of that right now.” When you develop a reputation for being a chaser, people will begin self-regulating to get your stuff done more quickly.
3. You can be a proactive communicator up the chain. If someone is waiting on you for something, it is incredibly powerful to reach out and say, “Hey, I know you’re expecting that report, just wanted to let you know I should be receiving the final chart this afternoon and will send it through straight after.”
4. The people around you perceive you as highly organized, effective and credible. The people you’re chasing will know things don’t slip by you. The people you’re proactively communicating with will feel confident that things are under control and that you’ll let them know if anything changes.
5. You procrastinate less. To be a chaser, by definition you need to be one step ahead; if you’re behind on your own work, it’s more likely that people will be chasing you. So you’ll find yourself getting your stuff done so that a) you don’t get chased, and b) you’re in a better position to follow up with others.
In case you’re wondering, I do not want you to be a self-righteous, micromanaging ass. I want you to be on top of your game.
Many years ago, I managed a company that had 16 sales reps across the country. My reps in Florida were a couple, Bob and Abbe. They were among the nicest people I’ve ever met. They also chased absolutely everything. When they sent in an order, they called to ensure receipt. When the ship date was approaching, they called to ensure the product was being pulled. When the ship date hit, they called to ensure the box had left the building. When it was time for invoicing, they called to ensure they were being paid promptly.
They were unfailingly polite and friendly. They never expressed frustration, exasperation, or arrogance. They were insanely, preposterously professional, and they understood that every human makes mistakes and every system has cracks and weaknesses. They were simply doing everything in their power to save us all from ourselves.
Seriously, go nuts. And in six months’ time, let me know how dramatically your life has changed. Because I promise you: It will.