For many years I directed professional services teams in high tech industries. A big part of my responsibility, and therefore my project manager’s (PM) responsibility, was to forecast (predict) how much revenue each PM would bring in each quarter. This was done on a project by project basis.
Each week, I met with the collective team and reviewed how each project was going.
I would ask if their project was on track and the completion date firm. Once completed, we could invoice the customer and therefore recognize revenue. It was the PM’s duty to manage any risk to on-time completion.
If the PM said a project was at risk, my next question was always, “What is your next step?” The last thing I wanted to hear was this: “I am waiting for…”
It didn’t matter what came after those words. I didn’t hear them. All I heard was “I am waiting.” Usually, they were waiting for a response from a customer or to hear back from engineering or for an email reply from manufacturing or software development or whomever.
When it comes to accomplishing our goals, waiting can be a real killer.
Waiting kills deadlines, revenue recognition, momentum, sales closure and much more.
Just to be clear, this message is not about patience. This is not about being shrewd. This is not about slowing down and taking a breath. This is about poor planning. It’s about keeping the main goal in mind. It’s about being wise and being ready.
Matthew 25:1-10 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut."
In the parable of the 10 Virgins, five were wise, and five were not. The five wise ones considered possible delays. They were ready and prepared. The five unwise didn’t want to take necessary time to prepare. They didn’t consider what might happen if there was a delay. They hoped they could wing it along the way.
Great project managers, and anyone who manages elements of time for that matter, know that waiting for someone can be a killer. Waiting doesn’t work well in the business world.
What can we do instead? We can think ahead. We can plan on what might happen if this or that were delayed. We can make calls and ask for favors and be direct and get written commitments.
My all-time favorite question to ask anyone working toward a goal is this: “What are the top two things that could put goal completion at risk?”
When we just sit and wait we are saying, “If it happens, good; if it doesn’t, oh well!” Like the unwise virgins, we will run out of time if we are not diligent. We can’t expect someone else to bail us out. It’s on us. Instead, we plan, we prepare, we think ahead.
Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience. He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to use their career to glorify God and support local church growth.
Shawn Sommerkamp, speaking to the Charleston Church of Christ at the New Year's Eve church service Dec 31, 2017.
Targeted goal-setting is powerful and effective. It helps us keep clarity of outcome. Breaking big desires down into smaller, achievable goals makes success achievable. The biggest challenges are overcome as we make a series of small goals that, collectively, lead to big outcomes.
And yet, just setting a bunch of goals can often be discouraging when we don’t reach them. Ever wonder why we often fall short? It’s because the goals weren’t smart! I’m not talking about whether the goals are stupid or intelligent either. I’m talking about a simple way of thinking about an activity designed to help us achieve results. It’s called S.M.A.R.T. and it stands for the following:
It’s early January.
The Holidays are over.
It can feel like we go from the ‘The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ to the most challenging time of the year.
A more appropriate lyric, now that it is time to make resolutions & get back to work, could be one of the following…
‘It’s The Most:
- Crazy busy
- Cash poor
- Weight Gaining
…Time Of The Year.’`
It’s not that you are
You want to enjoy it, but
it can feel more like “I just want to get through it.”
Although your MIND knows that God’s will for you (according to 1 Th 5:16-18) is to:
“Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances…”
...your HEART can lag behind & this simple command can seem overwhelming.
Sometimes you can put your finger on what’s dragging you down & other times it’s more elusive ~ not really sure what’s keeping things from being ‘Wonderful’.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Give thanks, no matter what is happening in your life. This is easy…right?
A national polling firm named Penn, Schoen, & Berland conducted a survey, mid-2012, evaluating American attitude toward thankfulness. They conducted more than 2,000 interviews across the US general population. I’m only going to share a few pieces of the overall report:
Where is the one place people are least likely to express gratitude? WORK
Based on this survey, that hardest circumstance to give thanks exists in and around the workplace. Isn’t that amazing? The place we spend the most waking hours (about 2,200 hours per year, about 110,000 hours in working lifespan) we aren’t thankful for. Wow!
The truth is our career is not just a way to make a living - it’s a way to transform the world. It’s the place God placed us so that we could make the biggest difference in our service to him.
Do you remember when these 3D-Hidden Object posters
came out? They were quite the RAVE…
They were not what they appeared to be at first glance… If you wanted to understand what the poster was really about, you had to stop what you were doing, get real close to it – focus on it, and back away very slowly… and then – like magic – 3D images would appear / seemingly emerge right off of the paper (3D effect). The embedded 3D images were disguised and hidden to the untrained/unfocused eyes.
Some people (me included sometimes) would get frustrated if we could not see the 3D images fast enough – some were easier than others… and missed the ‘magic’ of the poster.