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Suspense Tracking and Following Up

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Table of Contents

Getting to Know Your Boss Time Management The Schedule Suspense Tracking & Following Up Correspondence
The Boss’ Quick Reference Book
Protocol and Special Events Staff Meetings Technical Issues The Staff Car The Typical Day
A: Commander’s Call Action Plan B: Sample Background Paper C: Sample Protocol 3X5 Cards D: Sample Commander’s Reference Book E: Sample Exec Continuity Book
Example Desk Layout


Ensuring your Boss meets his/her suspenses and that members of the unit meet their suspenses to the Boss are very important aspects of your job. This process keeps the right information in front of the Boss at the right time. To do this, you’ll need to establish your own suspense tracking and follow-up processes. Normally, you’ll have a command administration section to log and track suspenses. If not, you’ll have to develop your own system. Never let performance report documents slip—this is probably the biggest problem area for most senior Bosses and their offices. The next paragraph offers ideas to help you.

For suspenses coming from higher authorities which must either be signed or coordinated through the Boss, there should be a standard suspense period—five working days in most cases. While the command administration section will log and distribute the suspense, don’t rely totally on this mechanism. Get a daily print of the suspense log, and know what is due each day by 1200 hours. If you have no administration section, make yourself a tickler file so you’ll know what’s due. Avoid setting suspenses for close of business because you may find yourself without the needed information. If you do not receive the information, call the respondents with a reminder—they will appreciate it; so will the Boss. Be sure to give yourself and the Boss ample time to review outgoing suspenses, i.e., getting the answer the same day it is due to a higher authority is not good—build your Boss and yourself some time (perhaps 48 hours) for your review. See OUTGOING CORRESPONDENCE for more details.

Another important aspect of suspense tracking and following up is managing the questions your Boss will ask. Here are some helpful tips.

First, take good notes. When the Boss asks a question, whether in a staff meeting, on a visit, or in an office meeting, write the question down. Make a note of whom the Boss asked the question. Then, make yourself a reminder to check on the response prior to the due date.

Second, follow-up on the questions. In most cases, routine questions from the Boss should be answered within three duty days, unless the Boss sets a specific date. On the date the answer is due, if you have not heard from the respondent by 1000 hours, call to remind him the answer is due—the person will appreciate the reminder; so will the Boss. If the answer is not yet available, put a simple note in the Boss’ HOT folder stating the status of the answer and who is working it (if necessary).

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Page Added on: 24 January 2006