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

Surface the Issue

If all else fails, have a heart-to-heart discussion. “I’ve tried everything and you just aren’t delivering. This isn’t working for me. What do you suggest?”

Hopefully, the person will have some new ideas. If not, ask them, “What should I do if things don’t get better?” At this point, you can be pretty sure they’ll say “I don’t know” or they’ll repeat their hollow, vague assertion, “I’ll get better in the future, I promise.” Yeah, right.

Drop People and Projects That Stall

Their opinion, objections, rationalizations, and promises don’t matter anymore. They’re unreliable, they’ve proven it, they haven’t fixed it, and there’s nothing you–or they–can do about it. In this case, terminate the business arrangement.

If it’s failing with them involved, it can fail without them involved, too.

“But what about the project???” you cry. The project isn’t getting done with them involved, now it can not-get-done without them involved. Business partnerships are about getting more done than you could do alone. If a partnership is holding you back, let it go and move on to more fruitful endeavors.

Hopefully it won’t come to this. Hopefully, you’ll be able to motivate people who are dragging their feet by following up regularly, using multiple media, meeting regularly, shifting the risk, and having a frank conversation. These are the best ways I know to motivate people to deliver results.

This is Stever Robbins. Email questions to getitdone@quickanddirtytips.com

I mentor successful people in building exceptional lives, business, and careers by helping them get clarity on their direction, aligning their commitments with their goals, and creating accountability to keep them moving. If you want to know more, visit http://www.SteverRobbins.com.

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You can find this episode’s transcript at getitdone.quickanddirtytips.com.

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

Man with Smartphone and Meeting images from Shutterstock


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins 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.