How to Motivate People Who Aren’t Delivering

Get-It-Done Guy’s tips on keeping things moving forward when business partners are flaky.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #248

How to Motivate People Who Aren’t Delivering

Do you know how to motivate business partners who are unresponsive? A coaching client of mine needs to know. A couple of her business partners are, well, as flaky as a buttered Parisian croissant. As she puts it:

“They don’t call back. They don’t return email. I have to drag them kicking and screaming to get things done. What should I do? I’m at my wit’s end.”

How to Motivate Through Rigorous Follow-up

First, calm down. If you know people need to be bugged, don’t get upset. Instead, build it into your schedule. How often do they need bugging? Daily? Weekly? Biweekly? Put a 5-minute appointment in your calendar to bug them at those times. You can even set up the appointment to repeat automatically.

At the appointed time, call and say in a cheery voice, “Just checking in to make sure everything’s on track!” Sometimes, a gentle reminder is how to motivate people to get back to the task at hand.

Use the Media They Pay Attention To

Should you call or email? It depends. Some people never check voicemail. Some people get a lot of email, and might overlook your message by accident.

Let’s get real: We’re all overwhelmed with incoming email, yet we expect everyone else to reply to our messages instantly. Email gets delayed, spam filtered, and sometimes outright deleted if someone is trying to get work done. Find out from your partner what works for them.

Ask how best to reach them. Is it phone? Voicemail? Email? Facebook mail? LinkedIn mail? Text message? gChat? AOL Instant Messenger? iMessage? IRQ? EFG? HIJKLMNOP? Find out their preferred method and note it in your address book. Leave your follow-up messages in the inboxes people check. I cover this in more detail in my episode on how to follow up.

Does this make more work for you? Yes. Be Zen about it. You have to do it to get things done. That’s how the 21st century works. Find out each of your associate’s preferred inboxes and simply use that when contact is needed.


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.