Have you ever had to repeatedly nag someone to deliver on a commitment? What if it’s a commitment that is voluntary, i.e. you’re not the other person’s boss, and you cannot force them to do it? The classic case is trying to get your own boss to deliver on a commitment s/he made to you.
Imagine that you have asked David to review a report, and that he has responded by committing to a self-imposed deadline:
“I’m extremely busy right now, but I’ll have time to review your report on Monday.”
Where do you think your request will be at the beginning of next week? Like many managers, David suffers from chronic email overload, so by Monday it will probably be buried under a few hundred emails in his overflowing inbox. There’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell that he’ll see it and be reminded that he committed to send his feedback.
You will therefore need to remind David of his commitment. But if you become too much of a nuisance, David might not deliver. So, how do you remind him in a nice way, without becoming too much of a nag?
All you need to do is say, “Thanks!”
However, it’s not what you say, it’s when you say it. Don’t reply to David’s message until the time arrives when he promised to work on it.
On Monday, your reply will arrive in David’s inbox, and will subtly remind him of his commitment at exactly the time that he planned to work on it:
“Thanks, David. today will be just in time to fix the document up before the final draft is due. I await your comments eagerly.”
I have used this tactic on many occasions, and have found it very successful. Sometimes you need to help those around you to be a little more productive!