Deadlines, Big Red Car?
Big Red Car here on a spectacular Sunday morning. The Boss is enroute to church, so I can finally use the damn computer.
So, here it is, y’all. We are going to talk about deadlines.
You will recall I ragged you pretty good about creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Constrained) goals.
OK, so you see the part about “time constrained?” That is the deadline, the goal post.
Deadlines are important, Big Red Car, right?
Deadlines are important, beloved reader, and that’s why a great goal is constrained by time. There is a deadline.
It is also an allocation of resources. You only have so much time. Time is the most precious resource of all. When it expires, you cannot buy more of it.
Experienced CEOs and deadlines
Experienced CEOs realize that setting the deadline for any goal is an arbitrary allocation of that precious resource. Not arbitrary in the context that it is light or intransigent, but arbitrary in that you often don’t know how long it’s going to take to get something done. You just don’t know. It’s a guess some of the time.
If you abandon a goal because you have exceeded the allocated time, then you will never know if a bit more time might have gotten you a better result. This may simply be the realization that the time you allocated was inadequate to accomplish the goal.
Advice to CEOs: Make damn sure you aren’t letting the clock running out decide whether you have accomplished the objective. PUT MORE TIME ON THE CLOCK?
Real world it, Big Red Car
OK, let me take the example of the repeal and replacement of Obamacare which failed this week.
Obamacare was signed into law by President Obama on 23 March 2010.
President Obama was sworn into office on 20 January 2009.
Trumpcare went down in flames two days ago on 24 March 2017 when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan pulled the legislation down — meaning it would not be submitted for a vote on the House floor as he knew it was not going to be approved. [Note: Five days earlier Speaker Ryan assured the White House he had the votes to pass it. Bad job by Speaker Ryan, sayeth the Big Red Car.]
President Trump was sworn into office on 20 January 2017 (at noon EST).
Therein lies the problem.
President Obama received a bill and signed it some fourteen months after taking office.
President Trump had the Speaker pull the bill only two months after taking office.
President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, flush with 100-day progress nonsense, allowed the goalpost to hit them in the head. Huh? Y’all give up after sixty days? Move the damn goalpost and keep working.
So, dear reader, there you have it. When a CEO is facing a failed objective, she has to ask herself: “Have I allocated the appropriate period of time to accomplish this objective?”
If you cannot say, “Yes,” then think about moving the goalpost.
I rarely do a postscript and the purpose of this post was to discuss the issue of deadlines, but I do have to say that the Republicans really screwed this up. They had eons to craft a bill and they knew it would require the cooperation and support of EVERY Republican in the Congress. They screwed it up. Five days before the vote, Speaker Ryan reports he has the votes? WTF?
It was a complicated legislative approach — budget reconciliation — and the necessity to package the legislation in three pieces was unnecessarily complicated. The Boss read the actual bill and there was plenty not to like and, yes, it was Obamacare Lite, with a promise to fix that in subsequent legislation. Haha. Yeah.