Connie drove a silver Camry with rosary beads hanging from her rearview mirror and a Smith & Wesson stuck under the seat. No matter what went down, Connie was covered.”

Janet Evanovich, from the Stephanie Plum book series

The team I was coaching was behind schedule. The good news was that this was an exceptional team, and as such, they knew exactly why. Good teams might know they are behind.  They might even know how much they are behind.

But good teams just work harder. The predator always catches them.

This exceptional team knew that time was going to be a predator.  They knew it would attack all their planning assumptions looking for the weakest points.

So the team made detailed plans with clear assumptions.  They knew how many hours per week each team member was planning to work on project tasks.  They had estimated the size of the products they were building.  They used size to estimate time. They calculated how much the plan might grow because of new customer demands.  They added in time they would need if the risks they expected became real issues.

The time predator struck in two ways.  Because of the detailed planning, they knew exactly where.

First, the customer’s changes exceeded the budget they had estimated by seven percent.  This wasn’t too bad.  They could have handled that without any sweat.

The second way added on top.  One of the products they had estimated was twice the size expected and thus taking twice the time.  As this was only one of many pieces, the time predator wasn’t successful at killing the chance of successful delivery.  Many of the other parts were over-estimated.  So the impact was only an additional 10% total overage for the plan.

This team was committed to delivering to their customer at the time they promised.  This predatory attack got the whole team focused.

They worked with the customer to determine which changes were critical.   

They examined the over-sized product.  On closer analysis, the team found a more eloquent design and were able to cut the size in half. 

With these two changes plus a little extra sweat, the team was able to deliver a high-quality stellar product on time.

Time is a predator.

Are you not prepared? You will be forever running in fear with the deadline eluding you.

Be prepared, and the predator will be your motivating focus.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This