I’m sure you and your staff have set SMART goals: specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and timely. The next step is critical: giving good directions.

The key to giving good directions is to know what you want.

Clarify the task in your mind, even visualizing the process and what the finished product or task will look like. Mentally walk through the task yourself, write down your thoughts as a means of clarification, consider the details, and how you will explain critical parts of the job in the proper sequence.

Set a deadline for the job in terms of a day or an hour. Instead of saying as soon as possible, say by 3:00 o’clock tomorrow.

Keep a copy of the assignments and instructions and their deadlines. If someone is out sick, or quits their job abruptly, you will be prepared to pass along the task to another coworker to keep the work flow going.

Agree on check-in points and follow up on due dates. Ask, “How is it going?” rather than “Why haven’t you finished?”

Accept work that is acceptable. If you need to point out something you want done differently next time, tell them next time, don’t require unnecessary rework.
Sure, work on improving bad work, but never forget to praise a job well done.
Keep these procedures in mind and you will be giving coworkers directions that nearly guarantee successful results.

If you think people are failing because they aren’t following directions…maybe they are following directions…it could be they aren’t very good directions. Contact me at kit@welchlin.com and I will create a presentation that will help you craft directions that are clear and concise.