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Articles - Organizing Disorganized People .Motivating Your Team to Change

Finding the Cause

Before you begin looking for solutions, take time to discover why they are disorganized. Ask the following questions


-Do they understand why it’s important to be organized?

-Do they feel that organizing isn’t important? If so, they could be habitually disorganized. Perhaps they don’t see their disorganization as a problem for themselves, so they believe it isn’t a problem for anyone else. You’ll need to make them aware of how their disorganization impacts you.

-Are they going through situational disorganization? This occurs when a person experiences a traumatic or one-time situation or event. For example, a new job or promotion, divorce, death of a family member, or time-consuming project can all cause sudden disorganization.

-Do they “thrive” on their disorganization? Some people sub-consciously create chaos and “artificial emergencies” to keep themselves interested in what they’re doing. They feel that they work best under tight deadlines, and they may even get an “adrenaline buzz” from them.

-Do they have a medical condition that can cause moderate to severe disorganization? Depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder (ADD), or even a long-term illness could be a cause. If you suspect that someone has a medical condition that isn’t being treated, talk to the person about seeking medical help.

Once you’ve identified why you think the individual is disorganized, try some of the strategies below to help.

Lack of Knowledge

If people don’t know about being organized, or why they should bother to be more organized, this could be a fairly easy fix.

-Express your concerns. Start by letting them know that you’re concerned about their disorganization. You want to see them succeed, but you believe that their disorganization will hold them back.

-Focus on the benefits of organization.  Your colleagues might not want to invest the time or effort to change, so make sure you stress the benefits of organization. Let them know they’ll likely have less stress, more time, and higher productivity if they spend the time now to get organized. Also, being organized can open the doors to some great opportunities in the future.

Lack of Motivation

If you suspect that a person is simply unmotivated to get organized, then you need to make them realize how much their chaotic work style affects you and others

-Make it clear that the disorganization is causing you stress .Mention specific examples from past situations where their disorganization impacted you in a negative way. Knowing how their actions affect you may motivate them to change.

-Explain the benefits of organization as it relates to them  .For instance, if your colleague always submits his projects late, then let him know that this reflects poorly on him professionally. If he ever wants a promotion or increased responsibilities, he must get organized.

-Find out why they’re unmotivated  .For example, perhaps you need a statistics report from your colleague on the 15th of every month, and she never submits the report on time. Once you start asking her about it, she tells you that she hates doing the report because she doesn’t feel confident about statistics, so she regularly delays working on it. Some extra training might be all that’s needed to give her the knowledge she needs to feel comfortable doing this task on time.

Discipline, if necessary If you manage people whose disorganization impacts their performance – and coaching or training does not lead to improvement – you might need to take discipline action .


Working with disorganized colleagues, team members, or managers can be stressful, especially when their bad habits affect your schedule. Find out why people are disorganized to help you decide how to approach the situation.