When was the last time you were frustrated with someone who didn’t do what he or she was supposed to do? Today? An hour ago? I’m referring to the person who has been trained, repeatedly told, or perhaps even scolded for not doing something your way. Maybe they didn’t even do it at all!
In truth, if you are honest with yourself, you are personally “guilty” of the same thing. There are times when you don’t do what you know you should be doing.
The reason why is absurdly simple: we don’t want to.
People do what they want to do, for reasons that are their own. I don’t want to do my taxes on time, so I get extensions every year. I don’t want to work on my number one priority because it’s complicated and not fun. I want to catch a 20-pound king salmon, so I’ll get up at 3:00 AM to catch the incoming high tide.
This isn’t a question of motivation, because they are motivated… to not do what you have asked. You have asked, pleaded, threatened, and offered incentives, but to no avail.
Your Best Chance
Let’s reverse-engineer this challenge and see what is at the heart of the problem. Remember, I contend people do what they want to, for reasons that are their own.
Consider this process: they are not producing the results you want because their behaviors are not what they need to be. Their behaviors are not appropriate because their judgement about what you are expecting won’t support doing it. Judgement is based on a lifetime’s attitudes, opinions and beliefs about things, and at any given time, these can be can be influenced by emotions.
Now, let’s put it all together. If you want someone to change their results, that will require a behavior change. People won’t change their behavior unless they judge the circumstances differently, and for that to happen they have to get new information that will help them alter their attitude, opinion and belief about the situation.
- Document your expectations (again)
- Meet privately to discuss them
- Provide all the reasons why this is important for them and the company
- Confirm that they understand
- Get a commitment that they will accomplish what you asked them to
- Train if needed
- Measure the results
- Reward results*
- *If results are not achieved, have a second meeting and explain the consequences of substandard performance (including termination and be sure to document this
- If results do not occur after this, you know what must be done, so be sure to follow through and do it
Q: How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One, but the lightbulb has to want to be changed.