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  • Writer's pictureBurk Moreland

The #1 Trick to Get Your Team To Do What You Want Them To Do

Of all the questions or situations I discuss with executives and managers, dealing with team dynamics and how to get your them do what you ask them to do is in the top 3 if not #1. The age old issue of giving a directive and then having your people follow through with it. Why is it so hard?

Based on my belief that nearly everyone gets up in the morning wanting to do a good job, as well as my steadfast view that most problems in companies can be traced back to the manager (you interviewed them, you hired them, you had a part in training them, you are giving them reviews, etc), I contend that the problem lies mostly with you. At a minimum, it is your responsibility as the leader to develop your people. So back to the original question. How do you get your team to do what you want them to?

You train them.

In order to be absolutely sure someone gets the information they need to do their job, there are a minimum of three steps to making this happen.


This step is purely the responsibility of the trainer. Transmitting the necessary information for our team members to be successful is job number one. It is hard to fault someone who is doing a bad job out of ignorance or lack of knowledge. If you haven’t given them the information they need, how can you expect them to do it? Most companies I work with have this step down, in some form or fashion.

The difficulty lies in the details.

I see a lot of either “learn by following” i.e. “follow that guy around and do what he does” or  handing someone a manual. Both of these are better than nothing, but are definitely the slow road. If you want the fast lane, create a training that has several “modules” of information that can be digested in chunks. Remember there are different learning styles (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) and try to touch on as many of the three as possible with your teaching methods. Consider getting help designing a program from people that do that for a living. If having the right system in place to get your people up to speed can cut your production time or cycle time in half, what could that do to the bottom line?


This step is squarely on the shoulders of the person being trained. They must pay attention, ask questions to further understand, and think through what they learned. It helps if what you’re teaching them is interesting or at a minimum, engaging. In addition, depending on the length, breaks should be scheduled, notes should be taken and ideas should be shared. Give them the information you expect them to learn ahead of time so they know what to listen for at key points. The visual of drinking from a fire hose is often used to describe people taking part in company trainings. Remember that and turn the water off everyone once in awhile to be sure you still have students!!


This is the trainer/company’s responsibility. Too often I see new employees given all kinds of information and then given a half-ass or open book test. Yes we want people to pass, but do you want them to know the information inside and out? If so, test them, then allow them to correct, then test them again. Repeat this process until they get it 100% correct. Then periodically test their knowledge of to be sure they have retained it. Do not allow mediocrity. That creates a culture of mediocrity. In my experience, companies with that culture aren’t usually wildly successful.

So teach them, put them in the best learning situation possible, and then test them until they get it right. Putting your people in the best position to be successful is your job as the leader. Do you just churn through people until you find a few self-directed learners (not many of these in the world), or do you design a program that pushes what is important and assures understanding?

If you want a high performing team of people that get things done when they’re supposed to, you better have a training program that backs that up. There are many more facets to the question of how you get people to do what you ask them to, such as motivations, training styles, personality styles, goals, leadership etc. Start with these basics and you will be off to the right start.

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