Ever since we were children tugging on our mother’s apron strings, nagging has gotten a bad rap. But the truth of the matter is that persistent follow-up (a nicer name for nagging) has a way of making people get things done.
So overloaded with emails and to-do lists are most of us that our immediate goals and tasks are often set by whatever concern was thrust in front of us most recently. While this can be the equivalent of conducting business like a chicken with its head cut off, especially savvy companies use nagging to redirect this tendency into a way to stay on track.
Prolific creative agency Brooklyn Brothers, founded by Guy Barnett and Stephen Rutterford, is one such company. The “brothers” are particularly focused on execution and they harness the power of persistent follow-up to keep everyone on task. As Barnett describes it:
“'We repeat stuff like robots a thousand times… a best practice for us is to use nagging tempered by humor. We sit around a table and feel responsible to each other… If you’re annoying, people will do things because they’ll want you to shut up!"
Most people don’t like to be the “squeaky” wheel, but when a team embraces “nagging” as a useful practice, it can be a powerful way to maintain momentum on projects. Of course, as Barnett notes, humor is essential to the process – being annoying without being amusing doesn’t motivate anyone.
Speaking of mastering the delicate art of the irksome/effective nag, some of the craftier elements on the Behance team have been known to use the “nag bomb” – the technological equivalent of finding your desk entirely covered in post-it notes that all have the same to-do item – in particularly dire situations.
***The Behance team researches productivity and leadership in the creative world. These entries are adapted and edited by Jocelyn K. Glei from the Behance team's past articles and research. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network, the Action Method project management application, the Creative Jobs List, and develops knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen.