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 #4 - Ask for Group Feedback by Raising the Bar

When you need an entire group to review a report, you can still set a deadline. But since everyone will want to add their two cents, set the bar a bit higher. Give the group a deadline for their review, after which you'll move forward. But instead of asking people to send comments, ask them to make the changes to the actual report. Have them turn on Track Changes in their computer so that you can see their input easily and merge all the changes when the deadline comes around.

It makes the group’s life a bit harder, but that's OK. If some grumpus doesn't want to make the changes directly in the report, you're free to gently point out that this is the only way you can feasibly add their brilliance to the report. If they don't care enough to do a little typing, perhaps this isn't the best time for them to contribute.

Bernice used this technique to survey her bridesmaids for reactions to their dress design.  She says decisions that affect the group should be approved by the group. I pointed out that she still hasn't involved Melvin in the decision to get married in the first place. "Some decisions are so obvious, it would unnecessarily delay the planning."

This morning Bernice's Mom left me a tearful voicemail saying that carnations with candy valentine hearts glued on are not elegant. The Maid of Honor called sobbing. The only phrase I could make out was "all that lace, oh God, so much lace." No one has the courage to pass on their opinion. But if they stay quiet, the train wreck—I mean the wedding—will go on. It's time for Bernice and I to talk. Maybe I'll even invite Melvin. So much for my plan to chicken out of telling her she might want to consider a wedding dinner that doesn't feature six different preparations of liver.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


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.