You enter the last week before the delivery of an important project. Your part is mostly done, you are mainly coordinating the work of others to make sure the deadline is met. One of the colleagues involved, talking with some stakeholders from other departments, gathers some piece of feedback that makes them reconsider a sizable part of the work they are doing on the project. They discuss it with you, and you feel put off by such a thing so close to the deadline. If that wasn’t enough, another person who has leverage and influence over the project sides with the criticism, and elaborates thoughts and ideas on how to possibly fix it in the long term. The deadline looms.
What do you do?
- You go in the tank. You have delivered your part after all, you are marginally involved in the remaining job, and excuses can be made for the lack of it. At some point, somebody will realize that there’s a problem, and you will be able to clearly explain why that has happened, and that it is not your fault.
- You block everything and ask to postpone the deadline. There’s lack of agreement on how to proceed, no reason to force a solution, and it is perhaps possible to open a broader discussion. People will ask about what happened, and you’ll have an explanation.
- You go ahead, as it was originally planned. The delivery is more important, having something some people think could be improved is far better than having an incomplete job and having to go around to explain why. You take a note to follow up on the criticism, and see if for the future it is possible to make that part better.
This is not a test.
We all probably go through the same (or very similar) thoughts at the same time. Each one of them has good motivations backing it and some kind of personal, self-interested roots. Eventually we will choose a course of action based on feelings and attitude rather than on concrete elements and facts.
We are all human beings, and it’s important to understand what is going on within us, before attempting to make a decision. That’s what can give us edge in the long term.