“ASAP” Means Absolutely Nothing

ASAP Image

“Can you send me that thing ASAP?”

I’ve been asked that before. I’ve also asked it myself. It sounds silly in writing, but it’s a common request in the workplace. While “ASAP” may seem important, it’s a key component to an empty request. “As Soon As Possible” may mean you want it delivered within the hour but to your coworker it may mean you want it within the week. You have no concrete proof that this person will actually deliver on what you are asking within a certain timeframe. Nor that it will be done correctly.

Still skeptical?

I sat in a team workshop (what I often refer to as “a warm and fuzzy”) called “Conversation for Action” and was skeptical too. Were we really about to spend an hour learning how to ask a request? But I will be the first to admit that the impact was very real.

Since the workshop I’ve reshaped my every request and have since then seen three tangible deadlines met—photos taken for an eblast, an edited brand platform, and a designed brand architecture—in only three days of putting this new practice to the test. Previously these requests had a 50 percent chance of being fulfilled, and felt like pulling teeth.

So how do you make a request that actually sticks? And on the flip side, how do you build trust with your coworkers to ensure that requests are met? Start here.

1. Request with purpose.
Ask like this: “I request that you ________ BY ___________.” This makes it very clear that you need something by a specific time. Create a shared concern, give context around your request, share details that may seem obvious to you but may not be obvious to your coworker. Ask in person versus email if possible. Then ensure a confirmation.

2. Honor your word.
If you say yes to the request, then meet the request or the moment something interferes, communicate it.

3. Treat your requester like a client.
You always want a satisfied client. When you complete the request, follow up to ensure satisfaction.

Give it a shot and while you experience the results, I request that you “Like” this blog by end of the week.

Conversation for Action Workshop