Every Monday I get 2-Minute Monday Motivators emails from a motivational business coach named Rick Houcek. These motivational notes are terrific and I encourage everyone to signup for the emails. The one I received today focused on hitting deadlines and was packed with some good thoughts on the topic.
As leaders, you should be building a brand of hitting your deadlines. Have an awareness of hitting deadlines and strive to hit deadlines with exactness. Also, when you hit your deadlines make sure to announce it appropriately throughout your vectors of reporting which include:
- Relevant stakeholders
- Relevant influencers within an organization
My director of information systems, Brian Luckey is terrific at this and has a well-earned reputation for hitting his deadlines.
As a practical matter, if you are faced with a situation where you will not hit a deadline, the best practice is to identify the situation as soon as possible and reforecast the deadline. If you (usually through your team) ever miss a deadline, effective leaders take the heat themselves and don’t blame their team. Personally own the failure, give an update on the new deadline expectation and pledge to do better to those you are accountable to. This advice is keying off a Jim Collins level 5 leadership principle called “window and the mirror.” Leaders who sit in the most powerful seats in an organization should practice the window and the mirror – they point out the window to people and factors other than themselves to give credit for success. When confronted with failures, they look in the mirror and say, “I am responsible.” In other words, if praise happens pass it along to your team… if criticism happens, take it on yourself as the leader. You still hold you team accountable, but you do that individually with your team.