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How to get others to get a move on

If you deal with customers, suppliers, employees (and even friends) every day, you've probably noticed how many of them that don't keep their promises when it comes down to being on time. They arrive late, they aren't ready in time, and many are completely unconcerned with respect to this. Here are some possible explanations for why this happens.

1. They have other priorities
When you ask someone if they can do something and they agree to do it, does the agreement contain a time limit for when it will be finished? Often it doesn't. Each person have their own priority order of what is urgent or important to do right now, but these differences are not discussed so much. In these cases it's important to make the time aspect clear, for example, by saying ”It's really important that this is done by Tuesday morning the 9th. Can you handle it?”

2. Vagueness
Some people communicate in a way that, if you want to be generous, may be called “intuitive” which, in practice, means that the other person has to guess what he/she wants. Instead of saying directly what they want; ”Can you pass me the salt, please” they might say; ”I wonder if there's any salt in the cupboard ...” It's always much better to say what you want even if you risk hearing the word “No”.

3. Misunderstandings
Sometimes it's difficult to understand what other people mean.”Immediately” means different things to different people. For one person the word means” within five minutes”. For a more light-hearted person, it may mean ”sometime today.” The solution to this problem is, of course, to be clear about what you mean when you say things and ask the other party to repeat your wish.

These points above are all sensible and acceptable differences between people that create problems. But those below are not acceptable and, unfortunately, still so common:

4. Ego trip comforter
Some people feel that other people should adapt to them because they consider themselves more important. They can be executives, they may have more money or think they are smarter than you. This type of person doesn't know that your problems are just as important as theirs, so they don't bother to honor contracts unless they think they are as important to them. The best way to relate to this type is to avoid them if you can. Their inflated egos make it too difficult for them to accept any of your suggestions for improvement.

These are the people who don't even intend to go all the way. They are tagging along as long as they can squeeze a little more out of you and then move on to the next victim. You don't need this type of person either.

6. Bad perception of time
Some people don't bother about time. They do lots of things and really want to meet deadlines, but there's always something that disrupts their plans. A project in their hands always takes longer than you might expect. They feel they need to ”just do one more thing” all the time. This is obviously a trap that we all fall into sometimes, but some of the people we encounter every day do it all the time and when it starts to affect your business negatively, your customers and other important aspects, you need to simply look for other partners.

7. Unrealistic expectations
This person is close to the ego trip breaker, but is a little different. Some people simply grow up expecting others to take care of their carelessness.

8. Irresponsibility
To take responsibility for their actions is something that some people never learn properly. Some adults are completely hopeless with responsibility because they haven't learned to ”own the problem” as a child.

9. Postponement
Some people are born to never get started - it doesn't matter how much or little they have to do, there always seem to be a reason to avoid doing it right now. If you are unfortunate enough to socialize, work or spend time with of such a person, there is only one solution and that is to continuously follow up his/her work. If you belong to the group, there is a simple rule that can help you and that is to choose the hardest task that you have to do and take care of it first every day. After a few weeks of ”therapy” you might feel that you're postponing less and enjoying more. Just a suggestion ...

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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