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Jan 09

Enforce Deadlines

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

I enforce deadlines that I receive from others as well as those I make for  myself. Frequently, others are not as committed to meeting deadlines. At one point in my career “Rick” worked for me. The quality of his work was excellent, and he was very good with customer relationships. Unfortunately Rick was perpetually late with everything including client appointments.  Regrettably, Rick needed to be let go because his failure to consistently meet deadlines destroyed the effectiveness of his other excellent traits.


Later Rick took a job as a newspaper writer.  When I learned that I smiled to myself knowing he would either find the discipline to meet deadlines or would be looking for another job.  To Rick’s credit, he remained with the newspaper for 25 years or more. Deadlines are king in the newspaper business. No one holds the presses for a late story. If a writer fails to make deadline, there is no story.  No story means no job and no paycheck.  That is the reality in newspaper writing. Looking back I wonder if I could have done a better job of managing Rick.  The unforgiving deadlines in the newspaper business solved Rick’s deadline problem.

I used to write a syndicated Christian business article and submitted each article on a set schedule.  I usually worked two to three months ahead so I always had something to send on time. I knew if I started missing deadlines, newspaper publishers would consider me unreliable and would not save space in the newspaper for my article. I put quite a bit of effort into obtaining each newspaper outlet and couldn't afford to lose any papers because of my lack of follow-through.

I also had a number of articles published in Christian magazines.  I generally submitted my articles in advance of deadlines, something most writers fail to do. Feedback from editors confirmed how appreciative they were to receive copy in advance because  they didn’t have to worry whether the article would arrive on schedule.

Peter asked the Lord a question about forgiveness and, “Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” (Matthew 18:22, NASB) Sometimes I fear Christians use this as an escape clause believing their sloppy work and missed deadlines should be forgiven.  My view is that Christians should not expect forgiveness for late or sloppy work.  They are called to higher standards.

I maintained a relationship with Rick after he left our company. I held high regard for Rick and forgave the shortcomings I had encountered as I hope he forgave me for mine. However, there’s a difference between forgiveness and suffering the natural consequences from our actions. If a burglar ransacked my house and steals items, I will forgive that person if they ask for forgiveness. However, forgiveness does not reject the legal process that places the person in jail if they’re apprehended.

For Christians to be respected in the marketplace, we need to deliver the best product and service possible and deliver them on time.

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