The earlier part of the last year came with news that gave me energy. Almost everyone I knew happily looked forward to what the new year would bring. I repeatedly checked my new year’s resolutions list which had some very unrealistic visions. As a young African who has learned to survive in adverse situations, there’s a constant voice in my head that says something positive will happen, my plans regardless.

Things progressed not the way I projected but I prepared for the worst and prayed for the best. However, my failures lingered in my mind. I realised that the best part was that the lessons from these failures contributed in many ways to our future encounters in the workplace, making us more productive and focused on the things that matter most.

From the little corner of my room where I relax and go through my phone every morning, I received a text message from my favorite mentor wishing me compliments of the season. I was happy to receive his message but was not confident to hold a conversation about a task he had assigned to me during the fall of 2020 because I failed to report as promised. However, as a great mentor, he advised me about how to start the new year 2021: “Kamal, Always remember to close the loop. Always. It’s unprofessional to leave loose ends.”

Even though I knew the importance of closing loose ends in business, I have always been a victim of leaving it loose. Sometimes, we take some important points of conversations lightly and they come back to haunt us in unexpected ways.

When we engage in businesses, those with whom we engage believe in us and trust us to put in our best. If we fail to communicate effectively, we may lose out easily and find it hard to get back on the path of success. Not communicating well with my mentor led to my failure in delivering on the assignment given to me.

The second piece of advice that changed a lot for me was: “When someone trusts you with an assignment (especially one that involves money), don’t ever switch plans without first informing the other party and confirming an agreement.” This piece of advice made me understand the importance of effective communication and giving feedback while doing business with an individual or a group of people.

Do not leave anyone hanging on a spot, communicate, ask questions and give relative feedback in due time. I hold a strong belief that reputation is not built in a day. It takes time, sacrifice and commitment to building a reliable relationship that will take you to the next stage of your life. In your workplace, or with any important business, always remember to close the loop.

Top tips for closing the loop:

  • Learn to communicate effectively, clearly and comprehensively;
  • Ask relevant questions and follow up;
  • Take and give relevant feedback.