How do you get people to do what they said they would do?

People who are starting with GTD often ask how to handle delegation, especially when a “waiting for” from another person doesn’t get delivered as agreed. Here’s a question and answer with David Allen on this topic.

Question: I just finished the “Getting Things Done” book and I know the methods you have expressed will for sure help me! I was wondering if you can help answer one of my questions? For Actions, let’s say you have to delegate work to someone. If that person doesn’t do the work that they volunteer to, how do you act in a stress-free way which doesn’t decrease your productivity and efficiency as a person?

David’s answer: There’s no “system” that can answer your question. “Stress-free” emerges when you know you’ve made the decisions that you need to about something, and parked the results into a trusted system that will feed reminders and information back to you at the appropriate time and context. So you have to decide if there’s something that you need to do about the situation or not; and if so, what’s your next action? Then park that next action in the right place that you’ll deal with appropriately.

The main problem most people have with delegation is the lack of regular review, enough so that you will light a fire or check status early enough to be able to deal with the other person optimally. But you can’t make anyone do anything. You just have to deal with your own agreements with yourself about the situation.