I recently had a conversation with a plant manager about a quality initiative his team was implementing.Â He talked about all the training they were doing for plant employees.Â I said, “Yes, but what is their motivation to learn it?”Â He replied, “Or else.”Â In other words, learn this and use it correctly, or else you won’t work here any more.
Some people just won’t change until you light a fire under them.Â As a last resort, it might help to inform someone that if they don’t play along, something bad is going to happen to them.Â To influence change, sometimes you have to threaten people!
The manner in which you send this message makes all the difference, since you don’t want crank up the fear factor to paralyzing levels.Â It’s more effective in the long term if it sounds like a kind warning instead of intimidation.Â If your next course of action is to get their boss involved, it might be a good idea to bring this up, so they have the opportunity to act before that happens.
Of course, I would never condone or recommend the use of physical violence or verbal abuse.Â The threats I’m talking about are ethical consequences or punishments that you have the authority to carry out within the normal bounds of organizational behavior.
What threats might you make?
Read more of the 99 Ways to Influence Change.