Generating results and timely delivery of assignments are one of the two biggest factors that shape the career of an individual, the room for error is minimal and any shortfall is detrimental to the modern day career. As a member of the corporate clan you don’t work in a vacuum, your assignment is mostly a step in the bigger chain of tasks and work. If you are the weakest link in the chain and the whole ecosystem is disrupted, be ready to get fired even though the delay may be minimal. It is not about the delay on your part, it is about the cascading effect it has on the entire workflow and the corporate deliverables.
So what are the common things, which add up to delaying the deliverables?
You are a perfectionist
Perfection is not because of an individual, perfection is a mindset that pervades the organization and is deep rooted in its culture. If by any chance your organization’s ecosystem were not great, you would forever be in the work, re -work loop. Perfectionism is tough to let go because people tend to see it as a positive trait and are happy in delaying the product. You pride yourself in never being wrong, does your perfectionism stem from collecting more data than others do to improve chances of a fault free decision and therefore you detest making decisions early on without complete data. The real test is in being someone, who can make decisions with 80 % of the data. Trust your intuition a little bit more and with your good experience you wouldn’t stray too far.
You Procrastinate things
One of the Murphy’s laws says, “The first 90 percent of the tasks take 10 percent of the time and the other 10 percent takes the other 90 percent.” You believe that keeping things open till the last minute will lead to better decisions and your history is a testimony to the fact. You like working with your team extremely hard in the last leg, according to you burning midnight oil with the team makes the team bond better and people who don’t subscribe to this thought, are not a good cultural fit; they need to be coached at best or sacked for common good.
You don’t like taking risk
Taking action may involve pushing the envelope, taking chances, charting newer paths and traversing newer terrains. Now doing these things does put you at risk, as you will be prone to more misfires and mistakes. Now you may not like to believe this, but history says that successful executives have made more mistakes in their career than those who are not so successful.
You believe in measuring risks and taking a cautious approach, why should you be the one foraying into newer ideas. Your task is to execute along the set-lines and when anything falls outside the boundary the best things to do is to wait and watch for others to jump. It is always safer to side with the majority, with this you can never be blamed.
You like working alone
Taking timely action requires that you get others on board early on, unless you are the erstwhile crown prince of your sultanate and everybody has to fall in line eventually. And you firmly believe that the rest of the team members are not as sharp as you are, getting them on board early on may not be of big help. Since you have all the data points with your decision, when you present it to others the logic will sway and there is no way they can not agree to your solution unless they are subscribers of the Satan’s faith.
You get caught in the paralysis of analysis
You firmly believe that the data on hand needs to be analyzed and dissected to the “T” and you believe in statistics only. Emotions and beliefs are of no use and should not be used to substitute for analysis. Once you complete the decisions there are quite a few options and each of those hypotheses needs to be tested and simulations run, all this takes time and you fail you understand why doesn’t the world understand such a simple need? Decisions are important and the company needs to wait till all the minute details are flushed out.
What’s the solution?
Not all things deserve equal attention; learn to differentiate between big and small decisions. Thereafter give them the attention they need on the basis of their importance, impact and eventual outcome.
What totally messes the timelines is the ego and our desire to try and decipher everything in the universe. In business you do not have the luxury of time nor the recourse to unlimited funds to learn something by running simulations. And if you happen to be in a start up company, both time and money are even rare commodities.
Don’t try to get all the answers, leave some things to the fate and put all the pros and cons of your decision on the table for everyone to see and comment. Take decisions with lesser data using the power of your people network to iterate in the absence of complete data. Don’t worry about being successful all the time; it’s neither practical nor possible.