The Strategist

How to make your colleagues meet deadlines


02/08/2019 - 11:26



Many of us have been in a situation like this more than once: deadline is near, the project must be handed over, but nothing is ready yet... Many people have a superpower to forget about deadlines. And yet, they can be called for order. How to make the team do things in time? Here are some tips.



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There are five signs that indicate that you have a problem with deadlines.

- Your team often breaks deadlines.

- Employees are distracted by irrelevant details and tasks of secondary importance.

- You are too indifferent to achieving the result.

- You are afraid to set more ambitious goals.

- Your employees are prone to procrastination.

Having studied behavior of several hundred effective managers around the world, Martin Lanik, an expert in organizational psychology, discovered that goals are achieved in those teams where leaders fulfill three conditions:

1. Set bright, ambitious goals for employees and themselves. They should be achievable, but at the same time require some effort.

2. Assign a deadline for each task with a regular reminder of importance of meeting the deadline.

3. Emphasize importance of performing current tasks in conversations and correspondence with employees.

Why is it important

Creating urgency is an effective way to push individuals and groups to achieve results. Without this, it is difficult for both you and your teammates to focus on the main goal. Daily distractions switch efforts, and time is spent on tasks and projects that are not primary, or even irrelevant.

To work on reasonable deadline when people use maximum internal resources is a direct way to increase productivity of both the team and the entire company. People who are faced with ambitious goals use the whole palette of their abilities and quickly develop necessary skills. This, in turn, moves them toward new ambitious goals. Such teams achieve excellent business results.

To observe deadlines is a skill that can be developed, not only at home, but also among colleagues. These simple exercises will help.

1. Set yourself more challenging goals.

If you are used to setting small, simple goals, then it will be difficult to go straight to big and ambitious goals. Start small: make daily goals a little more difficult. When you open a computer or diary in the morning, write down just one goal: "Today I will reach ..." Then rewrite it, making it a bit more ambitious.

Say your goal is to reply to all emails within three hours of receipt. Complicate it a bit: reduce the response time to two hours and forty-five minutes. Set an even bolder goal for tomorrow.

2. Mark the special importance of what is happening.

People work harder if they are convinced of importance of their business. This exercise will help you learn how to communicate to others the criticality of certain tasks. After discussing the upcoming work with your colleague and the schedule for its implementation, ask if it is possible to reduce the time and how much, emphasizing that the task is extremely important for the success of the entire project. Mind the interlocutor’s reaction.

3. Use stressful words

It is possible to determine attitude of a person to work not only by actions, but also by key phrases. Expressions such as “extremely important”, “critical”, extremely “create tension and give a special meaning to the subject. Use them in a suitable context; for example, focus on meaning of an important project with the help of words that create tension. End the conversation like this: “Fulfilling this task is extremely important for the fate of the project.”

Based on “The Leader Habit. Master the Skills You Need to Lead--in Just Minutes a Day” by Martin Lanik