S1 E06: When Colleagues Don’t Respect Deadlines

Your colleagues don’t respect deadlines, which in turn makes you miss yours, and then you have to deal with the repercussions. It happens repeatedly, and you’re in an ugly pattern of negativity. Yuck. How do you break the cycle?

This week we go upside-down (literally) to jump-start our thinking!

Then, we talk about:

  • 3 pieces of the puzzle — you, your colleague, and the relationship — and your respective [in]ability to control each of those
  •  Satya: truth, honestly
  • Gratitude
  • Ahimsa: compassion, non-harming
  • Listening to understand and respond, not to react
  • Different communication styles
  • Making deadlines public and setting up checkpoints
  • Rewarding early or on-time completion

Others’ work that inspired my response:

Blog post by Kristina Leroux, “Nonprofit Communications Confidential – Deadlines”
February 22, 2016

Workshop with Kivi Leroux Miller, “Putting the ‘Direct’ Back In Communication Director
April 4, 2016

Book by Janet Fouts, Mindful Social Marketing (in particular, chapter 8)

Article by Stever Robbins, “How to Enforce Deadlines”
November 8, 2010

Article by Molly Thompson, “How to Get Your Coworkers to Respect Deadlines”

And here’s the letter from Newsletter Negativity:

Dear Margaux,

I’m the communications person for a smallish nonprofit with 15 staff. As you can imagine, I have a lot of challenges around time management and priorities, with so many responsibilities. It has helped me a lot to have reminders of our mission, and how my work fits into it, and that has helped me be okay with letting some things slide or even to get rid of them altogether.

One of my responsibilities is to compile and produce our monthly newsletter to donors. It’s a printed piece, and even though it’s a good bit of work, I know that it leads to a significant portion of the donations we receive. The development team and I agree that it’s worth the time we all put into it.

That said, it presents one big challenge that I just don’t know how to address: I have trouble getting people to give me the content on time. I write some of the copy myself, but there are certain colleagues who write other parts. Most of them are pretty good about sticking to the schedule, but one or two in particular have never given it to me on time. And then the newsletter goes out late, or it doesn’t get proofread as well as it might otherwise (for the sake of meeting the deadline) — and then the CEO isn’t happy.

I’ve tried lying to these people about the deadline — telling them it’s a few days earlier than it really is, in hopes that I’d get it by when I need it — but even that doesn’t work. It’s like I have to reach a certain level of panic and frustration before they’ll do their part, and I don’t like this pattern we’re falling into. I don’t think it’s how a healthy organization should operate, not to mention, it just feels icky.

Any advice?

Newsletter Negativity

3 replies

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  1. […] Have colleagues that never get their work to you on time? Get some help from this podcast by Margaux O’Malley – When Colleagues Don’t Respect Deadlines. […]

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