Ask Amanda:

The lack of follow-up is driving me mad, help!

In general my team is great. The issue is that their follow through is horrendous. They’ll inevitably miss deadlines even if they set them themselves. I’ve talked to them individually and as a group. They’ll do ok for a week or so and then it starts happening again. What should I do? S.C., Raleigh, NC

Since this is a group issue, call everyone together and lay out the consequences to missing deadlines. Make the meeting 15 minutes long. Don’t disclose the topic in advance and don’t chit chat—you want to set a serious tone. Then state the problem and your planned solution. It could sound something like this, “I’ve talked to each of you about constantly missing deadlines and it’s had no discernible impact. It is unacceptable because keeping your word is a baseline expectation for each of you. And if you can’t make a deadline, you’re expected to manage expectations by informing those affected and negotiating an extension or compromise.

My role assumes you’ll do your jobs. I’m not able to perform at my best because I spend so much time chasing things that you’ve promised the team. And I have no desire to be a taskmaster. So I’m going to stop protecting you from the consequences. That means when management requests information and you don’t provide it when you say you will, I’ll be leaving areas blank in my reply and will indicate who was responsible for providing that information. I’ll be sure to cc you so you’re aware of what is being communicated upward. This is not ideal but you leave me no choice.

We’ll continue to leave 10 minutes at the end of any meeting to make sure everyone knows what each person has committed to do. If you’re waiting on information from one of your teammates, please don’t come to me. Figure out how you are going to get what you need.

‘Meets Deadlines’ will be added to each of your performance goals and you’ll be assessed on this parameter along with all your other performance measures during your review.

If you can’t make a deadline, there’s no shame in it. But you have to let others know you’re going to be delayed with enough time to adjust. If you have trouble staying on top of things you might want to ask a teammate to buddy up so you can keep each other accountable. It could be that you’re misestimating how long it takes to get things done. You are all capable people, I’m sure you’ll come up with a solution.

Continually dropping the ball is not acceptable in this team. I hope these changes will get results. If not, we’ll need to look at other measures to resolve this issue. I’m open to any and all suggestions.”

Ideally you want to wrap up right after and leave the room. If people try to explain why they miss deadlines, your answer is “that’s a reason, not an excuse.” Stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve versus how you feel about what you’re having to do. You need to be firm on the line you’re drawing or the situation isn’t going to improve substantially.

If you're wondering why corporations act as they do or would like advice on how to navigate the corporate landscape, please Ask Amanda and submit your question here.

You are welcome to reprint this article as long as you include the following in its entirety: Reprinted from “Our Corporate Life®,” a biweekly ezine featuring practical tips and tools for navigating the corporate world. Copyright © MMXVII Amanda Mitchell and Our Corporate Life LLC All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life ( to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company,, and She lives in New Jersey with her family.

Corporate Driver: Accountability

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Taking Control of Your Career® Bootcamp Content Overview

Our Bootcamp is designed to get you back to feeling like yourself fast. To avoid overwhelm, we cover critical topics sequentially so you can make small changes quickly and experience immediate results.

1. New Beginnings

We start by creating a clear picture of your desired outcome and showing how feeling stuck can benefit you. You’ll also learn how to increase your physical and mental energy and a quick (less than 5 minutes!), easy way to improve your mood.

2. Setting Yourself Up For Success

It’s easier to succeed when your environment completely supports you. You’ll learn how to easily analyze yours and bring it into alignment. We’ll also cover techniques for viewing your work situation in a neutral, productive way–allowing you to move within it effortlessly.

3. Values & Standards

Values impact your behaviors, decisions, relationships and direction in life. Yet your values are often not aligned with your workplace. Standards are what we honor because we believe they will lead us to our goals. Logically you’d think high standards would result in a superior result but just the opposite often occurs. In this session we’ll cover how to maintain your standards when they’re not shared and how to stay true to yourself without making it an issue for others.

4. How Your Best Intentions Work Against You

If you’re like most achievers, you welcome and thrive on responsibility. Sometimes, however, your life can feel like one long “to do” list leaving little time to figure out what is working – or not – in your life. We’ll cover how to retrain your teammates, how to redefine your role and the concept of “responsibility without authority” – having one without the other makes success impossible.

5. Core Beliefs

Understanding how personal beliefs drive behavior is critical to freeing you from feeling trapped. This is a deeply personal and important aspect necessary to move into action. You’ll learn how to uncover the core belief that is out of alignment and the 5 step process you can use to replace it.

6. Who is in Control of Your Life?

Control is like catnip to high achievers – we all want it. But surprisingly few exercise control in the one area where they actually have it. This cycle of relentlessly trying to get control over an uncontrollable situation is exhausting and self–defeating. Resetting expectations so you can focus on fulfilling activities will provide the energy you need to regain your perspective and take action.

7. Setting Boundaries

If you’re surrounded by those who constantly violate your boundaries it will create conflict, drama and drain your energy. When you set and maintain appropriate boundaries you will experience an almost immediate reduction of stress. We will review the 5–step boundary setting process; discuss how to hold the line without alienating others or compromising your standards, and the implications of not being able to say “no”.

8. The Path Forward

Your work each session will have helped you uncover your personal traps and provided strategies for overcoming them. We’ll do a quick review and focus on how to use your strategic plan so you’ll never get in this situation again. We’ll also review how to appropriately take responsibility, how to manage workplace expectations and perceptions and the best habits for self–management when “overwhelm” strikes again – as it inevitably will.