David Sullivan's picture


A few weeks ago I was trying to coordinate a transaction between two companies.  Each company needed buy-off from their respective CPA’s on issues relating to tax.  After several attempts to clear a time on both schedules I realized why I was running into difficulty: the deadline for tax filers who filed an extension was October 15th (17th this year).  There was no way I was going to coordinate a meeting while their focus was on this critical deadline. 

That experience got me thinking about my relationships with my clients.  One client in particular has a standing meeting with me every Thursday afternoon.  I wonder if she’s noticed that her deliverable show up every Thursday before our meeting?  Isn’t it funny how deadlines help us kick out our deliverables, complete tasks we may not complete normally, and just plain help us get stuff done?

While in college my wife signed up for an online class at the university we were attending.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, we had just had our first child and there were a lot of pressures on her time.  Completing the class on “our schedule” seemed attractive.  Unfortunately “our schedule” became next semester, and then next semester.  Each semester we extended the class there was a $100 fee.  Unfortunately the fee didn’t ultimately get my wife to complete the course, it was the threat of losing the credits altogether (if I recall you could only roll it forward 3 times).

The point is that we can only expect high levels of productivity when set clear deadlines.  To expect our employees to work hard for us they need to know not only ‘how much’, but also ‘by when’.  Only after we carefully set goals WITH deadlines can we expect to see our employees reach their best potential for us.

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