It sounds simple: To get people to follow through, hold them accountable for results. Make a plan, get commitments, review progress, adjust as needed, and reward outcomes. Very orderly.
However, we human beings are not very orderly. We don’t like taking orders, and we are often disorganized (and distracted.) Consequences of carrots and sticks are important but not enough. For reliable follow through, we need encouragement.
Encouragement is the secret sauce of motivation. To encourage me, show that you value me, you believe in me, and you want me to succeed. Focus your attention — even 5 minutes or less — on supporting my success. Ask about my progress and setbacks. Listen for flickers of enthusiasm or despair. Engage me to get my mojo in motion.
Make sure your encouragement is sincere and realistic. If you have doubts about my prospects for success, tell me your concerns — then support me to address them. That is empowerment in the truest sense: help me to use all my powers.
Accountability describes a path to the goal, but your encouragement keeps me moving down the path and enjoying the journey.
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