Everyone knows Waze, and the vast majority have become accustomed to how it works. Once you determine a destination, it calculates the ETA (estimated time of arrival) using a sophisticated algorithm and thousands of users as sensors.
Did you notice that Waze does not give you a deadline or a time commitment?
He gives you an estimate. A projection.
And updates you every time that estimate changes.
Why don’t we do the same when working in our organizations?
Why do we fall into the trap of making a promise (deadline) when we do not know how the traffic (amount of activities and priorities) will behave in the coming days or hours?
This promise may even make sense in a contractual relationship, where every transaction and delivery is planned, that is, when dealing with transactions between companies or organizations. In this case the two parties involved may (not always) make promises (even if they are not fulfilled) so that they do not need to give transparency about their modus-operandi and so the contractor does not have to trust that the contractor is doing its maximum.
If the deadline is not followed, a lawsuit or threat comes. But is that what you want in your organization? Threats and lawsuits?
What if, within the organizations, we started to give more transparency about everything that is done, and then, trust each other more?
And if when someone asked you for a deadline, you gave an estimate? Even without having a super algorithm, you would give the best estimate possible. Also, you could be open to hearing the reasons for faster or slower delivery. Over time any change in the estimate would be communicated ,without fear of breaking promises.
Then you would replace a deadline for estimation, transparency, and open dialogue.
Is it worth all that work?
I don’t know. Do you prefer to keep using deadlines and having…
- Delays that are hidden and only revealed in the last hour
- Bosses threatening subordinates and colleagues threatening each other
- Resentment and distrust growing with unfulfilled deadlines and promises
- The phenomenon of the Flight of the Chicken gaining strength
It’s your choice.