The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

How to get someone to do something that isn’t important to them

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose.  I am a speaker and author.  My background is in time and project management.

I help busy professionals and entrepreneurs create effective systems so that they can comfortably delegate to others, be more profitable and have time to enjoy life even if they don’t have time to learn new technology or train their staff.  I have a knack for taking big ideas and converting them into smart, sound, and actionable ideas.

At the end of the day, I give people peace of mind.
Today’s question came from a busy professional interested in freeing some time and space to advance in his career.

letseethat file How do you get someone in another department to do something you need that isn’t important to them?

The key thing that you have already realized is that this isn’t important to them.  SO – they ARE doing you a favor.

Do not approach this as “they are the road block”.  Instead – approach them as a valued consultant, expert or mentor.  Make it easy for them to do this favor for you; and be prepared to do the actual work.

Approach with appreciation, admiration, and friendship.
Some recommendations:

1) Invite them to (and pay for) lunch or dinner to interview them for their advise on this topic.

2) Approach it as if you are gathering valuable information from them — AND YOU ARE NOT ASKING them to do the work.

3) Share your current situation and ask their advice on how to go about accomplishing it.  Ask them what they think your next step should be.  People often give their opinions and advice freely.  Take advantage of this human trait.

4) Be prepared to do the work, with the information and advice that they give you. (This may mean that you create the spreadsheet with their information.  Or that you do the research from the links and pointers that they give you. Or it may that you write your own recommendation, testimonials and articles.  Then ask them to edit as they see fit.  Or that you do all the leg work and make it easy for them to sign-off.)

5) Do everything that you can possible do to reduce their effort and time.  Make it easy for them to help you. This monkey on your back is your monkey – not theirs; therefore, you are responsible for feeding your own monkey and not pass it onto someone else’ shoulders.

6) Take something off their plates.  There may be something that you can do for them that allows them to free some time for you.  Explore some job or task swapping opportunities.

7) If they say they cannot help, emphasize how much you appreciate their time and admire their experience in this area.  Then ask them to recommend someone else that they think would be a better fit for this project.

Approach the topics with an appreciation of their time, their talent and their experience.  Treat them as special.  Realize that they are the best at what they do and therefore are much in demand.   Their time is valuable.

End-Game:  The job isn’t done once you get what you want. It’s only just begun.

  • Don’t forget the THANK YOU:   And when they do come through for you – publicly recognize them in your project, a Thank You Note to their superiors, and/or a gift of appreciation.
  • Reciprocate:  Take the time to learn about their various projects and volunteer your services.

I know your situation is different. Why don’t we schedule an appointment, where I get to know more about your unique situation? And then I will be happy to make recommendations on what your best steps are moving forward.  To schedule an appointment, book it HERE.

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

I have a monthly presentation on “how to say YES to everything but on your own terms”.  To sign up for the complimentary course, go to


About the Author

Laura is a Corporate Exit Strategist for the Blooming Entrepreneur. She is a certified business and personal life coach, specializing in time management skills, project management training and work/life balance strategies. She has been in the software and testing industry for over 20 years. She’s worked with such companies as IBM, Ericsson, Staples, Fidelity Investments and Sogeti in various client advocacy and project management roles. The techniques she uses in her business coaching and client advocacy work saved these companies both time and money, which resulted in on-time, quality product delivery with higher client satisfaction. Laura now uses her client focus, project, quality and people management skills in her personal life coaching career. As a personal life coach, she helps people transform their life by integrating their goals and dreams into their everyday lives. Laura uses creative and practical tools to help her clients realize what really matters to them. She helps others to easily transition into their next chapter whether it’s the next ladder of success within their corporate environment or into the entrepreneurial playground. I am not a fan of choosing to act in spite of fear. Rather, together we will collaborate toward a plan of inspired action. We will develop a plan together that you feel confident and excited about. For us, Taking The Leap will be magical, exhilarating and natural. If you are eager to take that next logical step but are unsure what it is signup for the Corporate Exit Strategy Coaching group. We have books, tapes, training materials, twice-monthly group coaching events, 3-day workshops, and individual coaching sessions to help you on your way toward your freedom and prosperity.
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