Coach team alignment to get the “dead” out of deadlines!

How to Align a Slacker
September 10, 2013
Why and How Engagement Improves Profit
February 24, 2014

Nothing gets things going like a solid, no-exceptions deadline. In addition to making sure things get done, deadlines also teach teams how to delegate and force members to set priorities.

Deadline-300x199Meeting deadlines teaches teams to work on a schedule. For that reason extended deadlines are dangerous, because they can become a habit and destroy discipline. Without deadlines, it’s safe to assume not much would get done.

And yet, many teams have a hard time meeting deadlines, despite the fact that delivering projects on time, on budget, and with quality is vital for any high-performing team. Research suggest that 50 percent of project teams overrun their budget and schedule by 200 percent. 1

How can you overcome these odds?

Meeting deadlines is a simple case of alignment. High-performing teams are explicit in aligning their assumptions about the outcomes, actions, and use of time in tasks and execution. Research confirms the idea that meeting deadlines requires consensus on actions and temporal issues.2 Specifically, temporal consensus involves: shared temporal cognition, temporal planning, temporal reminders, and temporal reflexivity as a means through which teams may provide explicit attention to time in the preparation, execution, and evaluation of their task process.

Okay, all of that sounds a bit academic, I’m sure you’ll agree. Here’s what it means in plain English:

  1. Be clear and agree about what you expect to happen
  2. Be clear and agree about who does what
  3. Be clear and agree about what to deliver when

The fact that I repeat “Be clear and agree” confirms the second part of the research findings—consensus. It’s your job as a leader to gain consensus around all the details having to do with the major issues of time.

Team-Based Learning

Consider developing your deadline-directing skills alongside other leaders at our next CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Workshop. You will also receive powerful tools you can use back at your office along with strong follow-up to help you gain and sustain team-based High Commitment and High Performance on your leadership journey.

References: 1. Lientz and Rea (2001), 2. Gevers, Rutte, & van Eerde, 2004


Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.