Why Don’t They Do What They Say They’ll Do?

Why don’t meetings get people to do what was decided in the meeting?

When tasks are doled out, why don’t the tasks get accomplished, especially when people say they’ll do the tasks?

Here’s what typically happens:

  1. Planning a project to be completed
  2. Everyone meets to discuss what the project entails, let’s use a new lead magnet as an example.
  3. People chime in with their ideas of what kind of lead magnet, what the topic should be, what media to use and maybe even how to promote it.
  4. Everyone settles on an idea: an ebook with a few short videos to support the content.
  5. Jane agrees she’ll do the videos. Tom says he’ll get the ebook written. Bob, the email writer will obviously write the email sequence.
  6. The group agrees to contract the graphic designer they typically use for the cover.
  7. Everyone leaves hyped up.
  8. Two weeks later the project is all but forgotten. Each person “knows” they should be working on the lead magnet, but they have all their regular work to get done — and that work is never done.

The Problem

Not many people have the ability to manifest a concept into reality. Well, they have the ability, but it’s dormant from being discouraged their whole life. Unlocking abilities in your team is a topic for another post.

Tom has the concept: write the ebook. But what Tom doesn’t have is the specific steps to writing the ebook. He doesn’t have the deadlines for when those steps must be completed.

Jane has ideas on what videos to make, but it would be pointless for her to start on them if Tom doesn’t include similar content in the ebook. So she waits for Tom.

Bob forgets all about the email sequence because he too doesn’t know what the content will ultimately be.

What happened was in the meeting, concepts were defined.

Then the people were left to their own devices to make the concepts real.

Do Not Underestimate The Gap Between Concept And Reality.

Humans are good at making up fuzzy concepts.

It feels good. But we are terrible at making abstract ideas real.

To make sure projects get done in your business, everyone involved must know what steps they specifically have to take and when.  Even then, someone must have the job of herding the cats.  A project manager must be assigned to that specific project. (Doesn’t have to have job title project manager; it could be Tom, Jane, or Bob from this example.)

Even the PM on this project must have specific, well-defined steps to take with deadlines.

Let me give you an example of specific steps for Tom.

Tom is tasked with writing the ebook. Before the meeting is over, Tom will have his next steps mapped out. This could be: write the outline for the ebook and email the google doc link to everyone on the Lead Magnet Project by April 21.

Write a first draft of a chapter per day starting April 22 and completing when each chapter is complete. Email the google doc link to the editor.

The project manager would then have steps such as set up daily tasks for Tom in the pm app. Have reminders set for both Tom and the PM to make sure each chapter did get written that day.

Be Overly Specific

Each person in the meeting must walk away with specific tasks that make up their assigned concept including deadlines and whomever they need to coordinate with and when.

Bob, who knows how to write email sequences, still has to know what emails he must write, when he must write them and who he needs to collaborate with to accomplish his tasks.

Before everyone leaves the planning meeting, the meeting leader must ask, “Does everyone have their “step-by-steps?”