For all the aspiring, new and experienced capture management professionals, I am serving up the best advice I ever received on capture management. These are my five “go-to” principles. Selfishly, I hope you comment on this post and share your best advice with the community.

Hint * these apply more broadly than just to Capture Management.

1. Listen and ask great questions.

You’ve heard the timeless advice to LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN.

Listen more than you speak. If you want to elevate your listening game to the next level, focus on your questioning game.

High-quality questions yield high-quality, insightful answers. Take time to craft probing, open-ended questions, i.e., questions that don’t lead to a “yes” or “no” answer.

A common pitfall is asking an open-ended question, but failing to follow through by stopping to listen for the response. After asking the perfect open-ended question, if you supply a potential answer, you have just taken the pressure off the “answerer.”

“What do you think we could be doing better?” (open-ended question) “is it our response times?” (just changed to a close-ended question).

2. Importance of Integrity

Acting with integrity should be a no-brainer, but obviously it’s not. In a competitive environment people may be tempted to sweep aside their integrity to gain an advantage.

Even if you do everything else right in your capture pursuit, if your team crosses over the red line, it’s akin to a zero in a multiplication system. Everything goes to zero. It is simply not worth it.

The space between the hard rules and the subtle instinctive actions is your own personal judgment.

Experience is helpful in this realm. As you gain experience, do not be afraid to push back before you act. Whenever you hear the voice of your inner conscience, take your time to think through consequences and whether you are acting with integrity.

3. Have your own Relationships

In our world, layers of management separate us between leaders or decision-makers.

Roles, organizational layers and gate-keepers are necessary business constructs to prevent complete chaos. However, they also stand in the way of building relationships.

The layers don’t make it easy. And it feels uncomfortable BUT it’s important to have your own relationships with leaders and decision-makers both in and outside your organization.

Build these relationships. You will gain new perspectives. You will expand your influence. You may find a new advocate, mentor or coach.

4. Document Commitments

If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen. 

Let’s call it capture amnesia. We hold meetings to solve problems and assign people to work on solving those problems. They commit in the meeting and then promptly forget (or simply) don’t follow through with commitments.

Whose fault is this? YOURS

Verbal understandings, verbal commitments, implicit directions, assumptions and handshakes are insufficient.

As the capture manager, you must document commitments to make progress. Documenting commitments allows you to hold people accountable if you aren’t making progress.

Your team may be well-intentioned, but they are human. Humans are lazy. Humans are forgetful. Humans may even have alternate agendas.

5. Anytime you fail, document your personal lessons-learned

Our failures serve as the proving grounds to become the best version of ourselves. After we endure the most difficult experience of our lives, we can look back upon it wiser than before. Time gives us the gift of perspective.

After these moments of failure, regardless of the scale of the failure, it’s important to document what you learned from the experience. The benefits are numerous. You deal with your emotions around the failure. You analyze what you could have done differently. You realize what you should have noticed, but you missed. You grow.

We will always fail. Wouldn’t it be great to fail in new ways though?

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Start adopting these practices more regularly. I’m confident they work. If this advice resonates, please feel free to share, comment or connect.