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How Sears Killed Sears


A Horrific Case of the Missing Follow-up/Follow-through Process

Early in my career, I was responsible for a team of technical sales engineers. After a few weeks, I inherited an engineer who had worked for our company for about a year and had developed a reputation as lazy and ineffective. Yeah, I know: the proverbial Thanksgiving Special: the organization was playing “Pass the Turkey” with him.

Yet, as I got to know him, I found that he was bright, energetic and highly motivated…the complete opposite of his reputation.

I asked him what he’d been doing for the last year. His completely honest response: “Not much.” Why? “Well, frankly, no one has asked me to do much, and then they never check on me. So, I spend my time researching, reading and, generally, hanging out.”

Besides the obvious lack of direction or anything that resembled a critical goal, the Follow-up/Follow-through process was totally non-existent. While the sales engineer bore a lot of the responsibility for being missing in action, his previous leaders also clearly failed him.

The good news: after we established a few critical goals and started a regular Follow-up/Follow-through process, the sales engineer began to put all that reading and research to work. Within months, he had earned his new reputation as being smart as a whip and doing great things for our customers and our organization.