People never have time to do things right but they always seem to have time to do them over. Is it by choice? No! They want to be able to do great work but unreasonable demands result in making promises staff just can’t keep.
One of the things I’m noticing more of is how people are making promises about deadlines while having no idea whether or not they can keep them. They make these decisions for many reasons, a few of them being 1) because they think it’ll get others off their backs, 2) it’s an answer that they just might miraculously be able to meet with no data to back it up…i.e. wishful thinking, or 3) they don’t pay attention to all the other deadline promises they’ve made and all of a sudden find themselves way over their head. They don’t know how to own up to the fact they’re totally inefficient with their time to turn around and give an excuse akin to “the dog ate my homework” and 4) way too often because of the unreasonable demands made upon them re volume of work compounded by the fear of being fired if they don’t keep up and produce more than is humanly possible and/or sustainable.
There are many possible answers to this however the bottom line is people are making promises about deadlines without much conscious thought or integrity whatsoever. They don’t realize the implications of that and how it puts a wrench in the mechanics and workflow of a whole team, making everyone else late with their deliverables as well.
This is happening more and more in an organizational context as people are taught it’s not acceptable to say “no” or “I can’t do it in that time period” so they lie and then make excuses as to why they’re late.
In a time when there are cutbacks, layoffs and reduced staff, leadership has to recognize they cannot get the same volume of work done without killing their staff. Most want to do a good job in a timely manner. They just can’t figure out how to tell their bosses there are limitations without the fear of being fired and replaced with someone else who won’t say no.
Leaders need to rethink, work smarter, and prioritize and that means doing less, choosing the most important and impactful stuff and doing it better. It also means leaders need to create a ‘safe’ and accepting environment for their staff to say “I can’t do all this. What do you need right now so I can do it right?”