TIMELINESS
  • Fulfilling needs at the right moment with the proper use of resources
  • Completing responsibilities punctually and at the correct pace
  • Delivering on time so that others have adequate time to meet their obligations

HARRINGTON COMMENTARY

You’ve no doubt heard the expression “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Today I am proposing a new, similar adage, one that I think has much greater application in our lives: “Timeliness is in the eye of the beholder.” It is important to consider others’ time frames, and deliver our work on time so that others have adequate time to meet their obligations.

Have you ever been up against a deadline, waiting to complete a task or a project, but unable to finish it because you are waiting on someone else? Then, right before the deadline, the person on whom you were waiting finishes their part, but leaves you scrambling to complete the project on time. It is very frustrating. Here is a recent example of this phenomena, and I was the guilty party leaving others waiting.

At Funds For Learning, we provide monthly status reports to our consulting customers. It’s a great way to keep them informed of the work that we’ve been doing on their behalf, especially the more “behind the scenes” work that isn’t as obvious to them. (Often times is the most important work that we do.) Our client status reports are delivered at the end of each month, but before they go out the door I like to look at them. One recent month, all of the draft reports were delivered to me on-time by everyone in the company. Everyone waited for me to give them their feedback before they could send the reports to the clients.

They waited. And waited… and waited. Finally, on the day that the reports were scheduled to be delivered to our clients -- at nearly the end of the day -- I gave everyone my feedback. They had very little time to get the reports sent out, and barely enough time to make any changes if any were required. (Fortunately, for everyone’s sake, the reports didn’t need any changes and went out as-prepared.)

Our clients got their reports on time, which is good. But what our clients didn’t see is the extra stress that I placed on our team because I wasn’t delivering my feedback to them with timeliness. [FFLers: I apologize.] A holistic view of timeliness requires that we elevate our thinking past our own individual deadlines. True timeliness involves thinking about the requirements of everyone downstream of our work, and then shifting our deadlines to help them meet their deadlines. When we timeliness at this higher level, it allows us to help others meet their obligations and to increase the success of everyone involved in a project.

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Key Words and Phrases

At the right time; Punctual; Convenient; Prompt; In time; Well-timed; Occurring at a suitable time.

Opposite Terms

Tardy; Too Late; Missed Chance.

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