Deadlines are something we all work against. It does not matter if you are an employee, CEO of a large company, Small Business Owner, and/or Student. We all have to meet deadlines at some point in our lives. Some people take them more seriously than others. There are people that treat deadlines as a benchmark to get an idea on how long it will take, others consider not meeting them just moving them forward endlessly, and there are others like me that make it an effort to meet a deadline no matter what obstacles are thrown my way.
Different Types of Deadlines
There are many types of deadlines that I can think one but I like to divide them into unplanned and planned.
A planned deadline for me is one that I have had adequate time look at my pipeline, calendar, and other commitments and have been able to set it up so I can work around everything that goes on my many projects. I am very careful when making a commitment related to a deadline that is planned because there is no better satisfaction than meeting a deadline.
Unplanned deadlines for me are those that appear and usually have to be met in a short time span or when I have made other commitments to meet. These are difficult because you never want to say no to an opportunity but on the other side. I don’t like to commit myself to something that I can later deliver.
Too Much on my Plate
On many occasions I don’t have enough projects but in others I have more on my plate than I would like. On my side I have to make sure I don’t go over in making commitments I cannot meet. I see as a quality to handle as much as I can and meeting deadlines. Having too much on my plate can be very detrimental to my company and efforts. So if you have too much on your plate you quickly need to access on how you are going to approach it. If the case may be that you can’t handle the deadline it might be best to say “No” and thank you for the opportunity.
How I deal with Unplanned Deadlines that pop up?
I deal with unplanned deadlines in different ways and I take a few factors into consideration. I study them on a case-by-case basis and see if I have to sacrifice hours of sleep and bring in extra resources to be able to meet it.
- First I look at how many times this client has thrown me an unplanned deadline. I try to evaluate if the client could have told me previously. For example I support various agencies in which there clients send them unplanned deadlines also. In that case I make sure I support my client to the fullest and do everything possible to meet the deadline.
- I look at pricing. If there is a need to get something done that was unexpected then I expect my clients to pay a little more to get the job done. Since bringing extra resources will be a larger investment for me I expect them to understand. If they want me to fix everything at last moment over and over again I might decide not to commit myself to such an opportunity. If you are in a hurry and are consistently giving me deadline where I have to make me and my team sacrifice themselves over and over again I expect my clients to understand the value in that kind of service. If you need my team and me to work weekends and late through the night we will be more than happy to do so as long as our client values it.
Appreciation of what we have done.
Although I run a business and the main purpose of any business is to bring income I have to say that if I see that our extra sacrifices are not valued from a business perspective and as an economical one we might not want to commit ourselves to unplanned deadlines. On the other side if we went out of our way to meet your deadline and our customers are referring in new clients because they where satisfied with the work. If we get good reviews and positive feedback and recognition that we did a job well done you can count on me to go out o my way to make sure we can help those clients with any unplanned deadlines.
Delivering is Key
Once you have made a commitment to any kind of deadline the most important part is delivering good quality services or products in a timely manner. I have seen so many projects break down and not work because they where not able to come thru and deliver.
I make sure when I deliver I make it easy for everyone on the receiving side to take whatever we created and run with it. I make sure the quality of the work or product stands out and we are recognized and future candidates for other opportunities. No matter what kind of commitment we have made once we have made it my focus is to deliver with the better results and a little bit more than was agreed upon.
Giving your customers a bit more
Billy Mays (RIP) and other TV Pitchman have the but wait there is more when they are trying to sell. I usually try to include those in my projects and deliverables. There is nothing better than a client receiving something additional for their money. This will make the difference amongst you and the rest.
What things do you do to make sure you give your clients a bit more than what they expected?
How do you deal with commitments that pop up all of the sudden and might sacrifice the quality of others?