Select Page

There are two reasons why people don’t do what you want them to do.

  1. You haven’t asked them.
  2. They don’t want to.

It’s as simple as that.

It’s true.  We often accomplish our goals through the performance and effort of others.  This means that partnership and cooperation are key to success in many areas of our life.  If you have a goal, and you need other people to help you accomplish it, you need to get people to do what you want.


  1. First, You need to make polite clear requests. Very specifically, ask people what you want them to do. Describe the result you are going for. Tell them what success looks like. Tell them when you need it to be done. Then give them a chance to ask questions to clarify. Finally, ask them if they will do the job.   Be prepared for a yes or a no.  
  2. Secondly, Find people who want to do what you are asking.  If someone doesn’t want to do the job, you can decide what you will do. Will you find someone else or do it yourself? Will you be open enough to discover why they don’t want to do it and help them overcome that (i.e., a skill gap, prioritization, lack of clarity, timing)?  
  3. Finally, follow through. If they said yes, then you will want to check in on progress and provide support. OR. If they’ve said no, then you have to follow through on your plan B.

That’s it. Simple as that.  So, why do we fail?

Most of us fail at the first step of making very clear requests.  It is the most common problem.  We assume people know what we want.  In our minds, we think what we want is so obvious they should know too.  (they don’t)  Then we get mad when they don’t do it.  We think things like, “They would have done it if they cared. They must not care.” and we cause ourselves suffering.  The truth is they don’t know what you’re thinking, and they haven’t gotten the chance to decide. 

So be very clear about what you want people to do. Describe what success looks like. Let them know exactly what you are looking for and why it matters to you.  Then ask them if they want the job.  

Then let the humans be human. Their actions are theirs to choose.  How you respond to their actions is yours to choose.