Have you ever asked someone to do something for you, like adopt a new procedure or take on different job duties, and it wasn’t done as you’d hoped or expected? Or wasn’t even done at all?
Survey after survey tells us that up to three quarters of change efforts fail. Old habits are hard to break; those strong, old neural pathways just keep resurfacing and smothering the new ones we’re trying to build.
That’s why asking people to change the way they do something, or just to do something, is often not as simple as it seems. Here’s a little memory jogger – RAM – to remind you how to RAM what you want home without ramming it down people’s throats.
R – Realistic: Make sure what you ask is sensible and practical. Is the person interested in doing it? What’s in it for them? (Ye olde WIFM)
A – Achievable: Does the person have the time and resources (tools, equipment, information, your shared vision) to do it? Do they know how to do it?
M – Measurable: This makes what you’re asking clear, so people know precisely what you’re looking for from them. When they don’t know precisely what you want, the chances you get it are slim. Explain what you want, why you want it and why you’re aksking that person to do it (and not someone else), when you want it and how or how well you want it done (when that isn’t immediately obvious).
The next time you ask someone to do something for you or to do something differently, RAM it home so you get what you expect.