How to Keep Collaborators from Stalling Your Progress

Keep your projects running quickly by setting the right terms with collaborators.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #184

It’s hard to get things done quickly when collaborating because we need to involve other parties in the decision making. For example: The resident expert of Bees, Inc. insists we shouldn't publish the final draft of our report, "The State of Bumblebee Populations in Arid and Desert Climates" until he’s given final approval. You sent it last week and he promised his changes by Friday. Friday comes and goes and you've heard nothing. Without confirmation on the all-important Honey Strategies chapter, you can't move forward.

Luckily, Bernice never has this problem. She's planning her wedding and her mom has insisted on final approval of every aspect, of course. She sent mom details on the floral arrangements three weeks ago and hasn't heard a thing. But she's not worried. Such a simple matter won't stall the wedding, right?

Here are 4 Quick & Dirty tips to keep your projects moving, even when someone does their best to stall them:

Tip #1 - Don’t Let a Reviewer Keep You From Acting

When Mom says Bernice needs her approval to continue with the wedding plans, Bernice agrees – but then adds one little condition: “I will await your approval with great eagerness. However, if you don't get back to me by Friday, I will assume everything is fine and will continue moving forward.” When her mom pushes back and insists that Friday is too soon, Bernice is terribly understanding. "Of course,” she says, “at what date should I keep moving forward?"

What Bernice has done here is decide when the project will move forward. By giving the reviewer a deadline and telling the reviewer what will happen if they miss said deadline, she's satisfied their need to give input without adding an unknown delay to her own plans.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.