In fact, most of the time the deadline is met with significant amounts of work still needed within six months to a year after “completion.” Nobody wins in that scenario, nobody.

I’ve got many examples to share, but a very recent one comes to mind. Many not-for-profit companies have struggled in the past decade and one of them had to surrender a couple of its ships to auction. Both ships were repairable but in less-than-perfect shape to complete their missions. A savvy businessman bought them both with the intention of operating them as a for-profit business after a well planned rehabilitation of each.

One of the vessels required extensive work under a relatively short deadline. It needed plank and mast work, frames replaced and some work on its deck as well as its cabin top. 

The rehab proceeded nicely and it looked like the deadline was going to easily be met. However, the crew was showing some strain as it pressed to stay ahead of schedule. Finally a day of reckoning arrived and the owner recognized that his fine crew was pushing too hard to get the vessel ready. 

The vessel owner’s dilemma was easily solved. He practiced the best judgment that he could muster and blew off the deadline and missed a potentially profitable promotional trip. He realized that the ship needed to be ready for long-term use and his crew needed to step back and take a deep breath. 

With the deadline pressure removed, the crew set about to methodically finish the rehab work and in the process won’t have the headache of having to redo hasty work in six months to a year.

So what’s the lesson here? We all know that haste makes waste. Sometimes having the wisdom and courage to slow down helps the bottom line the most.

A collection of stories from guest authors.