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February 24, 2019

Don’t Let Someone Hold You Up!

No, this is not about crime prevention. When people you work with don’t give you what you need when you need it, they are holding you up. In many cases, you often don’t have authority over them and can’t control their behavior. What you need is their cooperation. So what can you do?

  • Never give people the actual date you need something. Even the most accountable people can forget what you need when you need it or be tied up juggling their own priorities. Always give people a deadline that is a day or two before you actually need the information.
  • Make more assertive requests. Frame requests in a way that requires commitment. For example, don’t say, “This is due by Friday.” Instead say, “This is due by Friday, can you get it to me by noon?” When someone commits to a specific time for a deliverable, they are more likely to do it.
  • Remind them when it’s due. A day or two before it’s due, send a quick email, make a call, or drop by their cube and say, “Are you still able to get [fill in] to me by noon, Friday?”
  • Thank them.When someone gives you what you need when you need it, say thanks even if it happens every month or week. A little appreciation goes a long way for cooperation. 

What if you don’t get it by noon Friday? If you followed tip 1, you have a couple days of room. Politely remind the person they agreed to get it to you and explain the impact it has by being late. If someone chronically fails to get you what you need, you may have to talk to your manager since this situation is affecting your ability to be positively productive.

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