Just as with people, some companies thrive under pressure, while others continuously fail under it. For every company, such as Apple, that strives to innovate in their market, there is a BlackBerry, a company that was given an enormous head start in their product area but failed to keep any forward momentum. To shed some light on how companies sometimes fail to create that momentum in their business, we have compiled a list of reasons why certain companies miss their deadlines.
1. They underestimate how long it takes to execute a job.
The worst type of manager is the “Yes” man. These types of leaders are the ones who will say anything to ingratiate themselves to their superiors. Consequently, when they try to flatter a potential business partner, these people are likely to agree to a untenable production schedule just to flatter the customer. It sounds simple, but its not always thought of well. There are only so many people available on a job and there are only so many hours in a week. Sometimes the leaders of companies that miss deadlines just want to say “Yes” to the customer, and they ignore the logistics of making it work.
2. They answer questions before asking any.
In the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, there is a quote that many companies should apply: He who talks first loses. Similarly, companies that fail to meet deadlines often answer questions without gathering more information. When initially dealing with a potential business partner, a good company’s leadership will not answer any questions straightforwardly. Instead, they will answer questions with other questions, always probing for more information. In the early stages, answering a customer’s question with a clear answer creates unrealistic expectations from stage one.
3. They intrinsically think of the customer as “better than.”
Sometimes, in business negotiations, the leader of a company will have to defer and show respect so much that eventually they begin to believe that their own company would truly be blessed to have the opposing companies’ business. I want to be clear: in absolutely no case should a company, or a company’s leaders, think of itself as inferior to another company. According to basic economic theory, each transaction is mutually beneficial to involved parties. Therefore, if a leader of a company acts as though the deal with their business is partner is the most important activity their company has undertaken, they will invariably create impossible deadlines, and they will likely miss those deadlines, too.
4. They fail to be honest and aware internally.
Once the deal is secured, it is likely going to be difficult to meet demands or deadlines. However, companies that fail tend to fail in a very specific way; they tend to overlook flaws or issues that will make it impossible to complete the task. If there is a consistent bottleneck, where crucial time is consistently lost at a disproportionate rate, they tend to get upset at the individual worker, when they should look at the process as a whole. Overall, honesty within the company is crucial, because no one else is going to tell what you need to hear quicker than your own people.
5. They fail to build in any time for mistakes.
Some people are just bad at managing time, but to not build in time for mistakes when creating deadlines is to assume that human beings are perfect. In case you haven’t noticed, human beings are not perfect. Depending on the process being executed, a good company will build in at least an extra week into the delivery schedule. They fail realize that meeting the customer’s needs is not just dependent on just getting it done on time, but also on getting it done well. So, if the process length needs to be extended by 25% just in case, the business partner won’t bat an eye, because a good product later is better than a low-quality product ahead of time.
Featured photo credit: micolumsana/Dolor de Cuello via flickr.com