Yes, it’s a bit belated… and that is my point.

We rush around pushing to meet demanding deadlines without stopping to think whether the agreed deadline is actually achievable. Now I know that the notion of linking a belated New Year’s message to a deadline is a bit of a lark. That it is not overly important. And it isn’t (well at least, not to me). But I am using it as an example of poor management and lack of commitment and engagement. And that can play out big in business.

You see, I have not yet made a full-on commitment to post blogs every few days or weeks. I have made a commitment to post and write about things on a regular basis, but not how often. My website is currently being developed and, there was a time when the fact that it wasn’t ‘perfect’ and yet was ‘live’ would seriously worry me. I would block any access, work with it off-line, and so on. But, I have decided that I cannot control when or where people look for information. They will search for what they want, when they want, and it is more important to me to be as honest as I can about reaching people.

We all know problems of deadlines rapidly approaching and not being met. We all know the consequences of getting important things wrong. We have all had perceived failures due to delivery issues and sometimes the impact can be dire.

I am not belittling any of these scenarios. I know that urgent action is sometimes necessary (just think of a hospital A&E Department, or any emergency). I know that millions of dollars can be tied to a particular date with product launches, stock market announcements, and chain of command decisions that need support. And major events in our personal lives may have tight and rigid deadlines as well… Wedding dresses need to be ready for the bride to wear, you need to clear airport security well before your flight or you risk being ‘bumped off’ the flight, and I’m sure you can think of many examples in your own life.

No major social or business event goes ahead without some hitches. Those ‘in-the-know’ know what those hitches are, and if they are handled well, no-one else can guess they occurred. But sometimes, these hitches may not have occurred had there been better, more realistic planning and time management.

I have too many times seen in business that sometimes decisions are made, and commitments are agreed upon without due consideration of the nature of the work, the people involved, the availability of required equipment, and other factors affecting supply and demand, such as time and calendar events (such as public holidays, major disasters that impact transport and manufacturing, etc.)

Managers can often re-negotiate contracts and delivery after major unforeseen events. But if delays and non-delivery are due to continued mismanagement, your reputation may suffer and eventually, the viability of your business may be at risk.

My advice – think carefully of all aspects that contribute to service or product delivery. Understand where the potential problems lie and plan solutions to these possible problems.

Have a wonderful, calm, healthy and successful 2014.

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