People don’t need advice, they need accountability

Failure to execute is rarely due to a lack of internal knowledge, but a lack of external pressure. 

Most people know exactly what they need to do. They just need another human being to create a greater sense of expectation around doing it. 

And so, next time you notice a friend, coworker or employee struggling to finish their project, try this. 

Instead of rushing in as the lord of answers to impart another empty motivational slogan like just do it, simply ask that person to email you a sample by the end of the week. 

That way, you’re not charging into their suffering with certainty and answers, you’re appealing to the fundamental human desire to not let someone down. You’re putting them on the hook. You’re putting yourself on the hook. 

Which isn’t guaranteed to provoke anyone into action, but at the very least, it radiates a spirit of care and attention. Even if it doesn’t necessarily require you to intervene. 

Block’s inspiring book on creating a strong and connected communities reminds us that advice is a surrender of sovereignty. In giving into this request, he writes, we affirm people’s belief that they don’t have the capacity to create the world from their own resources. We support their escape from their own freedom. 

That’s our interpersonal mandate. 

People don’t need advice, they need accountability. 

Stop trying to drop knowledge and start trying to increase pressure. 


What happened to the last person you gave advice to?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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