Under the Gun to Get it Done

Projects get to a point when things start falling apart. Failure rises  up.

Some people panic. Others give up.

pennies falling


Competence in one area doesn’t transfer to other areas. In some conditions complexity and stress bring out your best, but, in others, you’re overwhelmed.

Shut down:

Pressure causes some to shut down.

When their eyes glaze over, accept that brain function just went into overload. Ease off. Adding pressure only makes things worse.

When stress causes someone to shut-down, pressuring them won’t turn them on again.

6 responses to potential failure:

  1. Nurturer: I’ll take care of it myself.
  2. Planner: You should have planned better. Deal with it.
  3. Motivator: Just try harder.
  4. Comforter: It’s OK. We’ll get it next time.
  5. Developer: What are we learning.
  6. Perfectionist: Just forget it.

All of these responses have their place, but there’s more.

Under the gun to get it done:

Determine if it really matters.

Is failure catastrophic or a setback? Is this a “learn from your mistakes” moment, or a “do or die” moment.

  1. What does a setback do to team members?
  2. What does failure cost?
  3. How quickly can you recover?
  4. How will customers be impacted?
  5. What will the people “upstairs” think?

7 ways to get it done when you’re under the gun:

When getting it done really matters, press through.

  1. Rely on people you trust. You’re doomed if you haven’t built relationships already.
  2. Search for alternatives. How can you achieve your goals in new ways?
  3. What does less than perfect look like?
  4. Is postponing an option?
  5. Keep breathing.
  6. Don’t lash out. Anger doesn’t bring out the best in others.
  7. Hold people’s feet to the fire. Expect performance. But, watch for the “glazed eye” problem mentioned above.

Bonus: Debrief after the storm. What did we learn?

How can leaders get things done when things start falling apart?