When Failure is not an Option

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In today’s busy world, the speed at which we are asked to respond to change and progress is staggering. Timelines seem shorter and shorter and the reality of 24-7 connectivity assumes the capacity to deliver more than ever before expected. Combine these realities with the drive and ambition to succeed, and you have the perfect cocktail for burnout and breakdown in the workplace.Failure is not an option

Understanding the realities and expectations of today`s workplace, how do we ensure that we deliver what is required, while at the same time ensuring a healthy balance, especially when failure is not an option!

We have all been there – projects that just cannot be late- Reports that have to be finished on time and accurately – Work products that need to be delivered to the highest standards in three less weeks than last year. How do we manage, succeed and prosper. Consider these approaches when failure is not an option.

Professional Recycling

Experience and past success brings with them, the opportunity to reach back to reuse a particular technique or approach that proved successful in the past. A number of years ago I took over a program of projects that had gone off the rails, and was asked to restart the program and deliver it successfully – it was a priority for the organization and failure was not an option. I soon realized that a major part of the troubles faced by the project was a team member who had proven very difficult to deal with. It was obvious to me that dealing successfully with that individual was the critical success factor for the project. I solicited the advice of a senior colleague, who provided valuable advice and approaches to deal with the situation. I was able to successfully mediate the situation, and we went on to deliver a successful program.

During my career I have drawn on that experience, and recycled those proven tools and techniques to deal with similar performance issues. Under tight timelines and pressures – practice professional recycling.

The Most Precious Resource – Time

During periods of tight timelines and unreasonable deadlines our most precious resource is time. During these times guard your availability and time ruthlessly. Ensure meetings are no longer than absolutely necessary. Make the 30 minute meeting 20 and the 60 minute meeting 50, and repurpose that extra time to those things that need critical attention.

Bite Sized Pieces

At the same time as finding and repurposing those extra precious minutes, attack your critical deliverables early and incrementally. When we get an early start and pick off the work in manageable pieces, pressure is reduced and we are often able to accomplish more and in less time.

So when deadlines are looming and failure is not an option, manage your time and package your work into bit size pieces, while making sure you recycle your tools and techniques from previous successes. You`ll be amazed at how much more you may be able to achieve! Especially when failure is not an option.

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After 20 years of progressive leadership within the Canadian Public Service, as an executive and thought leader, Bruce has turned his attention to full time writing, speaking, training and business advisory services. Focusing his work on his long term passion for leadership development, has led to an ongoing focus on exploring current leadership topics through his leadership blog TheModernLeader.ca, and his newly released book - Leadership Hack: Leading the Millennial Tribe. Bruce holds two masters degrees, along with a professional designation in project management. Bruce calls Ottawa, Ontario Canada home, where he shares his life with his wife Susan, and his two university aged daughters.

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