Why People don’t do Things

You might well be familiar with some of the things on the list below, but did you know that the Language judo tag.thmand Behaviour (LAB) Profile® not only provides you with some statistics in this respect, it can also provide you with language clues and motivational language to address these issues?
Some of these things may seem obvious to you, I’m always surprised that when I discuss these topics with managers who are complaining about their people not performing, there will often be one item from this list that can be addressed and will make a huge difference.

1. People don’t know how
According to the research (shown in the book Words that Change Minds, by Shelle Rose Charvet), 60% of the working population are motivated by the need for a procedure, and about 40% of the population may even grind to a halt if they don’t have a procedure to follow. As a manager, often with many years of experience doing particular jobs, it is easy for us to assume that a particular task is so easy that ‘anyone can do it’. It’s important to ensure that you give people a procedure. Specify the steps and stages of the task and if necessary make a list of bullet points.
2. People don’t know why
Rodger Bailey’s research (Words that Change Minds) also identified that 60% of the population will need a reason to do something in order to be motivated. Again, about 40% of the population are simply not motivated to do something if they don’t think there is a valid reason for doing it. How effective are you at explaining the reasons why a particular task or job needs to be done? Some of the reasons for certain tasks change over time and in the current climate. It will be critical to explain this to your staff and to give them both the things they will avoid and the things they will gain from this action. Find out what’s important to them and then use the LAB Profile language to influence them to do what you need them to do.
3. People didn’t know they should
This is about rule clarity. The predominant management style is today often very collaborative and ‘requests’ are made rather than ‘orders’ given. This is not saying you should order your people about, however for some people (only 7% according to Bailey’s research, although in my experience this can vary in given contexts which are not predictable – we are talking about people here) unless they are explicitly told the rules they will not know what things should be done. On occasion drastic measures may be necessary to get some people to understand that there are standards and rules that need to be complied with. Alternatively there is language in the LAB Profile to assist you here.
4. People can’t (lack of resources)
This is a definite management problem. Is it right to expect people to perform tasks if they don’t have the proper equipment or enough time? The time problem is an interesting issue because this is about managing priorities, delegation skills, efficiency and effectiveness. Without providing resources or appropriate training this can become a recurring reason.
5. “My way”
This is fortunately not very common because it’s a tricky one to work with. Up to 40% of the population have a strong ‘Internal’ sense about what is the right thing to do in a given situation and usually this is combined with a realistic level of compliance. When you have taken steps to ensure that you have addressed all six points above, it is important to identify what is most important for the individual in the context of the task. Your key skill lies in being able to link what you want them to do, with them having more of things or thing that is important to them.
People who show this ‘Internal’ mindset resist being told what to do, so you need to offer suggestions for them to consider. They will then need to think about the consequences of not complying and make up their own mind about whether this is the right approach to be taking. If they decide to continue being insubordinate without good reason you will need to invoke your disciplinary procedures.
6. Too painful (or uncomfortable)
Remember the things that you hated doing at school or maybe there are still at some you hate doing at home? These are the things that you then avoid and only doe when you really have to, There are a number of tasks that people find psychologically painful such as reprimanding a member of staff, cold calling or credit control. Again, without proper equipment or training the job just won’t get done to the required standard.
7. No consequences
This is a surprisingly common issue. Many managers ‘don’t want to be negative’ they avoid discussing what will happen if something is not achieved or completed on time. Bailey’s research shows that without negative consequences up to 60% of the working population is not very motivated to complete the task or job. There need to be specific problems that must be avoided for up to 40% or they will be distracted by other issues. These people also need assistance with clarifying priorities because they are focused on what they don’t want rather than what they want.

The language and questions for the LAB profile can be learned with us in a 3 day certificated workshop – for more details for your area click here.

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