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

Tip #2 - Don’t Let a Reviewer Keep Themselves From Acting

This is all well and good if Mom is holding up Bernice; Bernice can just move forward on her own if Mom misses the deadline. But sometimes the reviewer is insisting on a review before they take action. Mom says, "I must approve the flowers before I'm willing to give you the guest list." This is how Mom plays power games. Suddenly, I understand Bernice much better.

You can use the same technique here as in Tip #1. Specify a deadline, and get the other person to agree that they will move forward by that deadline if they haven't proposed an alternative. "Why, Mom, that's a lovely idea. Can we agree that if you're too busy to review the flowers by Friday, you'll give me the guest list anyway? I don't want to hold you up if you're too busy." Hopefully Mom will agree. In this case, there's no way to guarantee that Mom will keep moving on her responsibilities, but getting her up-front agreement on a solid deadline  makes for a much stronger bargaining position when Mom wants to hold off on sending the guest list.

Tip #3 - Don't Stall Others When You’re the Reviewer

When you're on the other side of a review request, you can introduce these same terms. That way, you'll not be responsible for stalling someone else. When Bernice asked me what I thought of the dinner menu, I said, "I'll review it right away, but if you don't hear back from me within a week, take that as my approval. I wouldn't want to hold things up." Not only does this take the pressure off me, but it ensures that Bernice won't get stalled by my busy schedule.


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.