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Closing the Loop

Your Clear Next Step is in the business of helping people have better workdays, so that together we can co-create better communities. And together, we’re daily taking steps on our way to our 10-year target of becoming a $1 million bottom-line company that helps make workdays better for 10,000 people, and that invests $100,000 each year into making communities better. Just think of what $100,000 in our communities could do each year! Thank you for being part of the journey and this powerful mission!

From the work we do, we know that ineffective communication is a leading cause of pain for organizations everywhere. We also know that as a company, we relentlessly, creatively pursue even better.

So today, a communication tip we’re offering is to remind you to take a beat, and “Close the loop.”


What does it mean to “close the loop”?

It means…

  • let the sender of a message know you received the message.
  • let the person who is expecting you to deliver something know it’s on the way or delayed.
  • let the others who might wonder if you’ve picked up a task know you’ve picked it up…and then again when you’ve got it done-done.


Why is it important to “close the loop”? 

For you…

  • It can prevent the repetition of a task, or time spent unnecessarily.
  • It can remove the need for check-ins or follow-ups. 
  • It can show a dedication to urgency and accuracy.


Why do we do it? 

For YCNS, it’s a demonstration of our core value of being “Intentionally, Reliably Useful.” 

You see…

  • If I go the extra step of letting you know that I got your message, then you don’t have to wonder if I received it, and you don’t have to follow up with me later to ask about it.
  • If I go the extra step of letting you know that the task you’re waiting on is under way, and I’ll have it to you by this afternoon, then you don’t have to wonder when you’ll see it, and you don’t have to check in to ask about it.
  • If I go the extra step of letting you know that I’ve picked up something any one of us could have done, then you don’t run the risk of also picking up the task and duplicating work we’re too busy to do twice.


What does it look like?

It’s really simple!

It could look like any of these…

  • Thanks! Got it! I’m swamped this morning, but I will take a closer look this afternoon.
  • I am still working on that task we’d talked about, and I’ll have it to you before I shut down today.
  • I am afraid I’ve hit a snag on the thing we were working on, and I won’t have it done by next week as I’d hoped. Can we touch base quickly tomorrow to talk through the impacts of delays if I can’t get my piece to you until the following week?
  • Last week you asked me to follow up with so-and-so about the meeting they missed. We met yesterday to talk through the meeting notes; they had really great questions that we talked through, and they’re all caught up. 
  • I can take this one and get started right away!
  • Done!


We’ll confess, we’re not always as great as “closing the loop” as we’d like to be! We get busy with what we’re doing, and all of a sudden a couple of days have gone by before we reply to a message. Or, we get so focused on the task that we lose track of time and realize delivery may be later than we’d hoped, and we forget to let the expectant person know. 

Fortunately, we’re also an organization that believes in grace, second chances, trying again, and the relentless pursuit of even better. We’re going to keep trying to get better at “closing the loop.” 


When others “close the loop”, it’s like a gift - it brightens our day every time!  So, we’re committed to a fresh start every day – how about you? How is “closing the loop” helpful for you?

Topics: Sinikka Waugh, Communication & Collaboration

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!








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