How much control do you have over your Waiting For list? Do you have a good Waiting For to Completed ratio?
If you examine your GTD lists, your waiting for list is the one list that allegedly you can’t control. You are totally dependent on other people’s performance and their interest or ability to comply with your requests. But is this really true?
By taking a more active approach, you’ll make sure that your delegates will get actions done faster allowing you to complete your projects on time.
The power of social proof or simply put – social influence – will help you control your projects’ outcome. It will ensure that the people you’re working with prioritize your tasks without postponing them to the last possible minute.
Let me show you how…
1# Be Honest – Turn weaknesses into strength
Be upfront with your delegates. Don’t be afraid to mention any drawbacks of working on the project. This creates the perception that you’re honest and trustworthy. You’ll notice that it will actually motivate people to work harder on projects. When you’re upfront with delegates on the difficulty and possibly the longer hours, you’ll find that many rise to the occasion. You also lead by example by taking on this type of project – why shouldn’t they?
Honesty motivates people because it ignites their imagination and inspires them. Winston Churchill said it best: “I can only offer you blood, sweat, and tears.” The brutal honesty behind this simple statement both fascinated and terrified people. It offered no rewards other than an inferred “promise of glory” to the victor that could withstand the difficult task.
2# Don’t Sabotage Yourself
The power of the many, when used positively, can increase your delegate’s ability and motivation to deliver.
For example, telling delegates that many people are interested in the outcome of what your team is doing will increase your delegate’s desire not to disappoint the “many”. Tell your delegates that you picked them “out of the many” to help with this task. In addition, inform your delegates that others are dying to put their fingers on this project and it will expedite deliverability faster than previously thought possible. This will translate in their minds – “there are many that are willing and can do the task, yet, she picked me…I better not disappoint”.
Be sure not to sabotage yourself; don’t tell them that they are the only ones that can do it or it’s up to them. When they feel they are in full control, they may keep you waiting until the last minute, because after all – who will you turn to?
3# Make them relate to you or the task at hand.
Make sure you find something in common with your delegate and subtly bring it to their attention. For example: a developer asking another developer to help code a feature will be treated much differently than a marketing director making the same request of the same developer. Why?
Psychologically, the developer relates to the other developer and therefore feels more responsible to his fellow developer. The “I’m just like you” effect is obvious. The marketing director, to be more effective, should find some common ground to illicit that same feeling of responsibility from the developer. The marketing director should try to find similarities and experiences whether past examples of working successfully with the developer’s colleagues or hobbies.
Once the “I’m just like you” effect kicks in, the person responsible for completing the task feels obliged to complete because he doesn’t want to fail his fellow “Trekkie”. He doesn’t want to perform poorly in comparison with another developer who worked with the marketing director successfully in the past.
Be proactive in your delegation of actions and projects. Using social influence will help you convert your waiting for lists and ultimately, increase your productivity and success!