Why People Don’t Do What You Want Them to Do – Part 2. Skills and/or Knowledge

In Part 1 of this blog series, we focused on Motivation as one of the 4 causes of why people don’t do what you want them to do at work.

In this blog, we focus on a possible second cause. Skills and/or Knowledge.

That’s because there are only 4 potential causes why someone doesn’t do what you want them to do.

They are:

  1. A skills and/or knowledge issue
  2. A goals and/or communication issue
  3. An organizational issue
  4. A motivation issue

This means that one or more of these are in play:

  1. They don’t have the skills and/or knowledge to do it
  2. The task/goal/result/objective has not been clearly defined or effectively communicated
  3. There is some organizational barrier that is stopping them from doing it the way you want
  4. They are not motivated to do it

Skills and/or Knowledge as a “cause” manifests itself most commonly when the manager hasn’t accurately verified that the person assigned to the task is completely “competent” to do the task the way it’s expected to be done.

In other words, they can’t do it the way it needs to be done.

There’s only one way to be absolutely sure that someone can do something the way you want and it’s to answer “yes” to this question…

“Have you seen them do it from beginning to end 3 times to your satisfaction, without your nudging, coaching, cueing, or helping in any way?”

Here’s why this question is important.

It’s because  there can be a HUGE GAP between someone’s knowledge and understanding compared to their ability to appropriately turn it into the “competent” behavior that is needed.

In other words, they might know it and understand it but can’t really DO it the way you want it done.

That’s why testing someone’s knowledge and understanding of something isn’t enough. You have to see them do it at least 3 times to your satisfaction.

If you haven’t seen them do it, then there might be a gap in their Skills and/or Knowledge and that’s why they aren’t doing it the way you want.

To fix this, you need to identify the specific Skills and/or Knowledge GAP and then coach, train, or grow the person to close it.

If, however, it isn’t a Skills and/or Knowledge gap, then another cause might be Goals and/or Communications.

To read Part 3 on Goals and/or Communications please click on the link.