Make It Easy for Others to Comply
Three hundred cards needed to be signed by hand. The busy leader couldn’t find the time to sit down and spend multiple hours scribbling their signature and greetings on such an overwhelming pile of cards.
So they procrastinated and promised to get to the stack. But, after several days, the cards sat untouched on a conference room table.
Then, a team member did something creative. They placed a stack of just 25 cards on the table and asked the leader to sign them before leaving for the day. The leader quickly complied. For the next week, 25 cards at a time were left for the leader. They had no problem finishing the task.
The industrious team member didn’t just break an unwieldy task into bite-sized chunks. They did something even more important. They made it easier for the leader to comply.
Whenever anyone procrastinates on a task or seems to resist complying with instructions or requests, it may be that they find the requirement onerous or it may be that it is simply hard to comply.
When leaders need anyone to do or complete a task they don’t seem to get around to, the best idea is to make it easier for them to comply. Sometimes, this means breaking a large task into smaller pieces. But there are many ways to make compliance more seamless:
Keeping tools nearby or handy
Providing step-by-step instructions
Highlighting the critical segments of a document
Providing people with a pre-stamped and addressed envelope
Creating a template they can use as a foundation
Setting aside enough time to transition to the next task
Offering easy-to-follow directions
Scripting the first few lines or sentences
Setting items out within reach or view
People appear to resist when it is difficult to comply. It’s usually not true. They aren’t resisting as much as they find the task inconvenient or hard. Good leaders go out of their way to make complying with any request much easier. This saves everyone from unnecessary frustration. After all, everything is more difficult until it is easy.