I was in primary school when I first became aware of the importance of being ‘on time’ for something. My headmaster at the time explained that being late for something was a very arrogant approach to life – it indicates to people that you believe your time is more important or valuable than theirs. To this day I loathe being late for a meeting (as some of you will be able to attest to!) and I am always slightly put out if others are late and don’t seem to feel it is necessary to apologise.
I realise that this dislike of tardiness has been extended into the realm of being late doing something. If anyone in the team commits to providing information or getting a job completed by a certain date … it will be done by that date, or we will provide a really good reason why it has not been possible (and we will do so in advance of the deadline with a solution already in place). So, it always comes as a shock when suppliers into our business don’t act in the same way. Occasionally we have put a deadline in place so that something does not drift but more often than not, there is work that follows on and we are planning our time around you delivering your element to us on time.
Deadlines in events are really important. In fact we are quoted as being one of the most stressful industries to work in and this is often attributed to the immovable deadlines we work with. After all we have an event date (or dates) to work towards! Any event manager will tell you that the slipping of deadlines early on in the process can have a negative knock-on effect and it is something that we do our best to guard against.
Now of course, shit happens! We all know that sometimes things outside of our control conspire against us which is why perhaps the title of this should be ‘The importance of managing expectations around a deadline’. As well as being deadline driven in the event industry, we are also known for having to be very flexible and plans constantly adapt. In the Potting Shed we are no different and I am very happy to be as flexible as I can but for goodness sake, please manage my expectations and let me know that something is going to be late.
Management of expectations is not just good working practice; it shows our mutual respect for each other and is fundamentally polite.