How To Get People To Do What You Want

One of the challenges of game producers is to get people do what they are supposed to do. And on time. It might be true that it’s easier to get people to do what you want as long as you have money. You just give people money, and they do what you want. That’s partially true.

But, that’s definitely not the whole truth.

You cannot force anyone to do things for you. Even with money. If the person is not motivated – if he doesn’t want to do the job then even money won’t help. He might do a lousy job, or finish only partially if he doesn’t want to do something. The only way to get people to do something, is to get him want to do it.

There are much more other things people desire besides money. Here’s a short list of what people want. When you give people what they want, they are more willing to do what you want.

#1 – Money
As mentioned earlier: people want money. Some people want it more, some less. Everybody needs some amount of money to survive, so money can be one vehicle for motivation. Even small bonuses or upfront money can motivate people to work for a long period of time.

#2 – Trust
Team members want a game producer they can trust. If they think you are hiding something, making deals without telling them or keeping more money and royalties than was agreed then the trust is gone. And when the trust is gone, the game project progress stops and the fighting begins.

Be honest, open and trust your team members – that’s the way to build trust.

#3 – Listened
People want someone to listen to them. Don’t just hear them while they are talking. It’s important to listen what they are saying, comment and notice what their message is. If you ignore everything they are saying, then they start feeling that you are not interested. That leads them to be uninterested about your assignments. Why would they listen to you, if you don’t listen to them?

#4 – Involvement
Team members want to be part of the team. Don’t keep mentioning it’s ‘your project’, ‘your game idea’ or ‘your something’. Start speaking about ‘our project, ‘our game’, ‘our team members’. Have an attitude where you are the ‘king’ of the project and doing the hardest work. Start thinking how lucky you are actually having interested people in your team. When you get team members… be darn sure to let them – and others – know that you are doing the project together. Team members want to a have a solid team – and a feeling that they are part of the team.

#5 – Peace & Quiet
Even though people want to be part of a team, they also want work individually. In an indie project where people can be located all over the world this is not much of an issue, but in an office where interruptions can happen there is need for peace & quiet.

#6 – Recognition & Rewards
Team members want to hear that they’ve done a good job (when they’ve actually done a good job), they want their name to be mentioned in interviews, websites, credits… Don’t flatter people, that’s cheap. Give reward & recognition when you’ve think they’ve done a good job, but also let them hear if something is gone wrong. Group rewards can also be important for team members.

#7 – Titles
This is something that’s been a bit of a mystery to me, but people are keen to have a nice title. They want titles like ‘marketing coordinator’, ‘CEO’, ‘game producer’ or ‘lead designer’. I’m not saying you are like this. I’m not saying that marketing coordinators, CEO’s, game producers or lead designers are like this. I’m saying that some people are. Some people need to have a title for their jobs to feel important.

I see that this can be practical for communicating with other companies: if someone is looking for business deals they might want to talk to CEO, and when someone is looking for a job they might want to talk with the human resources. In this way it’s practical to have a title for external communication. But personally, I don’t think there’s need for titles in internal communication. But, I understand that some people want titles – and that’s fine with me. Just remember: people appreciate titles

#8 – Plan
Team members don’t want just automatically process everything that’s given to them. People want to plan their work, and work their plan. If you get people involved in the game planning – even in areas outside their responsibility – you are sure to get people motivated. The feeling of mutually planned goal is important.

#9 – Freedom
People want to freedom to choose the methods of working. You should focus on results, not the method. If you need a great looking 9000 polygon 3D orc model with a 512×512 .png texture in a .3DS format then say it. Don’t tell the artist to start using Milkshape & Gimp to do the model. Let him choose the way he wants to work – just make sure the results are okay.

#10 – Responsibility
People want to get responsibility, and they want to know the are important for the whole project. If you don’t give responsibility to your team members, they lose interest. They want to know that others are dependant on their work. They want you and other team members to know they are important for the project.

And keep in mind – everybody is different
We all have different wants and needs. It’s true that some people usually want some of the things mentioned (Rewards for example: everybody wants to know they’ve done a great job. You want that, I want that. Even humble people want to hear that they are humble – even though they don’t mention that… If you are honest with yourself, you feel good when somebody mentions about a job you’ve done well). Everybody is different: some people want more formal way of working, some people want informal. Some people like challenges, some people don’t. The secret of getting along with people is to think the project, tasks and assignments in their point of view. Find the unique needs of different persons. Be motivating, be inspiring, be professional and be happy. Find out what people want, and present the assignments in their way.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Really Nice Insights I will Joot these Down and 1 Question I though there can only one GP or could there be more?

  2. Seeing as it is almost the first title I’ve ever had, yeah, I’m getting attached ;)

  3. Titles…
    Yeah, on the project I’m a member of, my title is: Intern a.k.a. n00b.

    Although the n00b part was my idea, the boss loved it. :D

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