We Don’t Dare Dictate Deadlines

Want to have more wasted effort, delays, and incomplete work? All we have to do is dictate deadlines and watch everyone’s productivity come crashing down. When we dictate deadlines, we are asking for resistance, unsustainable heroism, and mistakes.

We aren’t the experts in their work. They are. We are not committing to a deadline. They are. We can’t create in them the drive to accomplish. Only they can.

“By when can you get this done? At which milestones will you let me know your progress? How shall we proceed if things get off schedule? How can I support you in getting this done by that date?”

Their job is to set and meet the deadlines. Our job is to inform them of extenuating circumstances so they can properly plan and to hold them accountable.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Cindy Schultz cc

2 thoughts on “We Don’t Dare Dictate Deadlines

  1. Mike-
    What is the most effective way to hold people accountable? If deadlines that are self created(not dictated) are not met and communication of this is lacking, how do you proceed?

    1. Hi Anne!!!!!

      Let me write about that next. Short version: they commit, they alert you asap if it’s going off the rails, or you call them on it, problem-solve, and ask them to recommit.

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