Is it procrastination or a lack of values?

Good values are like a magnet. They attract good people – John Wooden

There’s a difference between delaying or postponing something that should be done today (procrastination) versus committing to do something but not intending to do it (values). In either case letting ourselves or others down should never be tolerated as acceptable behaviour. Upholding values is central to the culture of high performing teams.

We’re sceptical of promises from politicians and so we should be because politicians break 1 out of every 3 promises (I’m surprised promises kept is as high as 66%).  Now consider yourself and your work environment. How many commitments are broken each week? Is it higher or lower than that of politicians? What does this do to our brand and to that of the team we work in?

What can be done?

If procrastination is an issue then there’s a range of strategies that can be implemented to reduce it. A good place to start is to apply the 2-minute rule (Source: Getting Things Done):

  • If it takes less than 2 minutes then do it
  • If it takes more than 2 minutes then decide the next action

If the issue relates to overpromising and underdelivering then your values mindset is what drives behaviours. Do you want to be known as credible or unreliable? Assuming it’s the former, then before making promises you need to understand:

  • Existing commitments
  • Available capacity (time and resources)
  • Upcoming demands

Maybe your intent is to do the right thing but your work methods fail you when faced with unexpected new demands. Does your default mechanism see you reacting to “whoever shouts the loudest” which snowballs further in causing you to overpromise and underdeliver? It becomes a never-ending vicious cycle.

High performing teams consistently demonstrate a culture of superior results by having action aligned to intent. You’ll achieve more in less time if you eliminate procrastination, over promising and underdelivering.