The One Change That Made All the Difference in the World
Living A Life of Focus – Part 3
“A deadline is a deadline.” This statement taught us and those we influence how to get serious about setting deadlines and adhering to the deadlines that have been set. This practice, if you want to be successful in life, your home, your career, in a relationship, or on the job is a key characteristic for getting you there. It may seem like a simple goal, but this one simple practice has the ability to take you from an average person to a next-level person.
The Thought or Concept:
“A deadline is a deadline.”
These words I heard for the first time in a staff meeting with my vice-president of finance. She was meeting with her direct reports and I, the youngest member of her team, was the only one in the room with a pen and paper. At that point, I knew I had the upper hand on my peers. Writing things down is the first and most important step to getting things done. This was the most important statement she made. “A deadline is a deadline.” From it, I realized that her team had an issue with meeting deadlines, so I made it my goal for my team to meet all its deadlines. Secondly, I noted that equally as important as meeting a deadline was providing and setting good and doable deadlines for my team. So I made this phrase our focus statement and used it in every team meeting for an entire year. It became the first line item on our agenda. You’d be surprised at what an impact it had on the team, my life, and the results we saw, were even better.
“A Deadline is a Deadline.” After a year of focusing on this statement, it taught us five important uncommon lessons. Allow me to share them with you.
- Most don’t adhere to timelines. This focus statement taught us that most people (51% or better) don’t adhere to timelines. If you want to be an exceptional employee, you must learn how to adhere to deadlines. We must learn how to adjust, handle, and evaluate the deadlines placed on us.
- Most don’t write things down. This focus statement taught us that most people (the majority) don’t write things down. They don’t take usable notes. Simply writing tasks down places you ahead of the majority. The next step is to follow through. There is no way memory will serve you well when you’re inundated with information constantly. The biggest obstacle to meeting a deadline is forgetting about it and what must be done by when. The key to becoming a part of the minority that excel in what they do is to simply take usable notes. We must become good at taking notes that we can use to do our job, manage our lives, effectively and efficiently.
- Most don’t listen to their immediate supervisor. Over the course of time, we’ve come to find that most (commonly) don’t listen to their supervisor. This focus statement taught us that most people don’t listen to the instructions of their immediate supervisor gives. They do something called “winging it.” I’ve heard it said that when you don’t take notes, have something to write with and on, you never intended to take any actions. Just by the simple fact that you brought nothing to write with, is a key indicator to the one you report that you never intended on doing anything with the information provided. To be unlike the rest starts by being prepared with pad and pen in hand at every meeting and encounter with your supervisor.
- Most don’t know how to listen. This focus statement taught us how to listen to the one whose opinion matters, our supervisors. Most people (more than 51% of them) don’t know how to listen. You see listening requires you be intentional about information gathering. Your job is to listen for your key takeaways. Anytime your superior gives directives, you must be asking is this for me and if so, write it down so you can make a plan to accomplish it.
- Most don’t know how to set a deadline. This focus statement taught us that most (normal people) don’t know how to set educated deadlines. When asked when can something be completed, the majority give an uneducated guess without doing any analysis or evaluation of plans. To be uncommon, you must know what’s on your plate and the priorities of the same, so that you can with intelligence speak to when you can accomplish a new task. Remember the goal is to meet a deadline.
“A Deadline is a Deadline.” This focus statement seems very simple until you give some thought to how often you miss a deadline or how often you make an excuse for missing the deadline. By the way, this is common behavior. If you want to become a member of the extraordinary group of employees or team members, you’ll need to find a way to put the excuses to bed.
Today is Friday!
I’ve just shared with you the focus statement, “a deadline is a deadline.” With it, we reveal what normal (average) people do and if you chose to do differently with setting deadlines, then you’ll become an exceptional employee, person, and a team player.
Until next week, share this with someone who’ve found it difficult to consistently meet their deadlines.