How to Help Cautious Decision-Makers Make Commitments
Great results require meaningful commitments.
A commitment is saying NO many times in service to a meaningful YES.
The truth about MAYBE:
I hate MAYBE. Just say yes or no!
Maybe is worse than No.
People who can’t say NO and aren’t ready to say YES are anchors. When someone says, “I’m not sure,” everything grinds to a halt until they make up their mind.
MAYBE is a stranglehold on progress.
But thoughtful people need time to commit.
7 steps that help cautious decision-makers make meaningful commitments:
- Make clear requests. Don’t beat around the bush. Cautious decision-makers hate ambiguity. Discuss purpose, outcomes, and responsibilities, for example.
- Connect requests to their values and goals. How are you helping them get where they want to go? Explore what they get when you explain what you need.
- Expect ‘Maybe’ and ‘I’m not sure’ if it’s a big ask. Stay on target, but don’t push down the door.
- Offer support. “I’m glad you’re giving this commitment some consideration. What information might I provide that will help you make up your mind?”
- Ask, “What needs to be true for you in order for you to be comfortable making this commitment?”
- State intent. “I want to keep moving the agenda forward.”
- Set a reasonable deadline. “Could you give me your decision by end of day this Thursday?” Or, “When is a good time for you to give me your decision?”
Help team members identify and explore their greater yes if you expect meaningful commitments.
Tip: Relieve pressure by saying, “I’m OK either way.” If you aren’t OK with someone saying no, it’s not a request. It’s a demand.
Teammates who make commitments slowly and follow-through fully are better than those who commit quickly and disappoint.
How might leaders help people make meaningful commitments?
Asking them what they may need to make a decision for example do they need more information.
I agree! That’s an excellent tip and helps get to the heart of the issue. Find out what they need to make a decision and see if you can help remove that roadblock or provide that information for them
Given the leadership deficit in your country (Donald Trump), and my country (Narender Modi), I think that leadership lessons are urgently needed at the top!
Apologies for the political comment, but the quality of leadership at the top has a significant impact on our lives
Have set goals, targets, steps BUT REASSURE that the goals and targets should, do not detract from the steps of the actual task (s). e.g If you have reward driven goals or targets, these could detract from the steps.
I’ve never heard the problems with MAYBE stated so succinctly. When I struggle with MAYBE, it’s because my plate is too full of things that aren’t really that important.