Have you ever scratched your head and wondered why people don’t listen to you?  You have projects that are due and the people you’ve assigned to handle the projects aren’t handling them to your specification.  So you fire them.  Then you hire more people and it’s the same ole same ole.

This is a common problem that even some of the smartest guys in our industry have yet to surmount.

Here’s 3 tricks professional managers use to get people to do EXACTLY as they wish:

1.  Don’t Suggest, Instruct

If there’s something you need to get done, make it crystal clear.  Here’s an example of an email one of the smartest guys I know in the industry wrote earlier today:

WRONG WAY

“I would suggest replicating that data from the access db first, building out, then switching the domain name afterwards to minimize the downtime. Or you could just manually do a datalink for the missing days each hour later on to get the missing orders.”

RIGHT WAY

“Please follow these exact instructions in this sequential order:

Option 1

1.  Replicate the data from Access.

2.  Once replicated, switch the domain name to the new server.

3.  When finished please mark off in BasecampHQ and email me confirmation of completion.

Option 2

1.  Create a datalink for the missing days.

2.  Then……

3.  When finished please mark off in BasecampHQ and email me confirmation of completion.

NOTE: Choose the option by EOD and report back to me if this is going to take longer than 48 hours.”

Notice the difference.  The “RIGHT WAY” made the task clear.   A deadline was set with control measures.

The “WRONG WAY” left things wide open to interpretation.  When is the assignment due.  Is it even a real assignment or is this group think?

2.  Get Specific

Don’t expect people you work with to think like Marvin The Mindreader.  You need to get very specific as to what you want them to do.

You shouldn’t feel awkward about giving exact instructions.  This is business.  The goal is to succeed.  Therefore you need to let people know EXACTLY what you need them to do in order to reach that goal.

I make it clear with everyone I work with that we work in a meritorious environment.  Everyone is rewarded based on the value they bring to the table.  Outside of work we can kick it as friends, but inside it’s nothing but business.

I will promote someone just as quickly as I’ll fire them.  Just because someone is displaying great work product today doesn’t mean that they’re given a get-out-of-jail free pass in the future.  Every vendor we work with is acutely aware of this.  If their system is beaten out by a competitor, we have no loyalty.  We move on to the competitor.  This creates a “survival of the fittest” environment and pushes people to always give their best.

 

3.  Trust, But Verify

Ronald Regan once said “Trust But Verify.”  Exactly!

Don’t expect that people will automatically follow your word as gospel.  You need to put strict quality assurance measurements in place.

If it’s a new vendor or employee watch them like a hawk.  Micromanage them.

Once you have a level of comfort delegate tasks.  Put control measures in place so that if they start to slip, you catch them and have it corrected.

 

Avoid ambiguity at all costs.  When your vendors and employees have EXACT goals in place, there’s no room for failure.  Remember that communication is only as effective as the response it elicits :)