Rushing Versus Being Slow and Methodical

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, it’s tempting to rush a project to completion. There is a time and place for that – and it can be unavoidable when there are deadlines looming.

It is good to be aware of some principles to help avoid getting into rush situations, however.

First, what are some potential hazards of rushing to complete things on short notice?

1. There may not be enough time to check for quality of work, and we may end up with embarrassing mistakes.

2. Especially with technically challenging projects (medical procedures, I.T. projects), it can lead to mistakes which are hard to recover from, such as forgetting to back up data before wiping out a computer system.

3. In an organiation, it can create a culture and habit of putting off delivering a result until there is pressure – which means management is running around putting out fires and neglecting important details which keep customers happy.

But it’s not all bad. What are some benefits of rushing?

1. Without judicious resort to rushing to completion, some things may not get done at all.

2. Sometimes the unique pressures of a deadline can make miraculous results possible.

3. It can help tighten the schedule and create incentives to find creative ways to get more done in less time.

So how do we take advantage of the benefits rushing, without falling prey to its detriments?

1. Set up production processes and policies to win rather than lose, i.e., have a rational, methodical, well thought-out process and system designed with the help of professionals, so that we minimize avoidable surprises. Sometimes, we do things based on what is in front of us, and something not on the table to be worked on can get neglected until some alarming event suddenly brings it to the forefront. Systems to make sure everything important to get attention, are on the agenda for the organization, prevents this kind of surprise scenarios.

2. Learn from experiences (mistakes). Rather than beat ourselves up for “mistakes” consider them learning experiences, and dynamically create bullet points and policies, designed to avoid repeating the negative experience.

3. This can over time create unmanageable, complex policy manuals. So to avoid that, continuously consolidate and streamline policies with feedback from production and operations people.

4. Preserve the story or case study behind learning experiences and tie them to the policies, so the lesson does not get lost in the process of streamlining policies.

5. Learn from Other People’s Mistakes. It is critically important for management to engage in continuous learning, continuing education, seminars, consult with experienced experts on management, mastermind with peers, and read articles and books, to reduce the need to make mistakes in order to course correct. Sometimes a mistake can end a business.

6. Always be looking for opportunities to set up automated, computerized checks and cross-checks on every conceivable aspect of the business process, to raise alerts and bring attention to conditions that require attention.

7. Avoid the temptation to cut corners when under financial pressure. It is better to keep high standards and work hard to make the necessary revenue to keep the business running at a high standard, than get into a death spiral of cutting corners as a lazy way to handle a budget shortfall, which in turn leads to the inevitable further decline in in revenue, until the business simply becomes unsustainable.

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