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What Do You Do If Employees Don’t Do What They’re Asked To Do?

What Do You Do If Employees Don’t Do What They’re Asked To Do?

by Frank Roche on August 6, 2007

in Management, Motivation

I just cracked up when I read “Do Chores Like a 13-Year-Old Girl” on White Trash Mom. It’s about a 7-Step drama that unfolds when the mom asks the daughter to pick up some dirty dishes and put them in the dishwasher. The last step goes like this:

Step 7-The dramatic performance of this task increases the time spent on this chore to 30 minutes. After finishing this chore, SLOWLY go and report to your parent that this task is done. Tell them this information as if they had asked you to kill an entire family and bury them under the front porch—-the chore is that distasteful.

It is at this point that the parent will either be completely disgusted and allow the teen to go back to more “important” tasks or if the members of the household will be forced to watch additional drama.

Sure, it’s funny when it’s about kids and parenting. I’ve experienced a little of this drama in my own house. But what do you do when your employees don’t do what they’re asked to do? I’ve been known to ask and ask in my own business, only to be surprised that things didn’t get done.

Dealing with Broken Dishes
My business partner, Sarah, calls this kind of behavior “Broken Dishes.” That is, if employees are asked to do something, and then they do it poorly or “break the dishes,” then they don’t get asked to do that work again. And guess who does? The high performers. (Sarah also has a phrase for that: Performance is punishing.)

So, what do you do when employees don’t do what they’re asked to do? Do you come down hard? Do you let it go? Is there something that keeps your organization running without drama? I wish I had an answer for that. But I was the guy who was laughing when I read the story, so I’m interested in what you do. (And I could always use some advice on raising teenagers!)

What do you do with broken dishes? Or 13-year-olds?

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