The Green Flag Always Drops on Sunday
My father always told me, “The green flag drops Sunday, whether you are ready or not.” My father was a simple man who had a knack for making cars go fast. He didn’t have a college education (dropped out of Jr. College at 18). Then at the age of only 24, he started his own business, building race car engines for race teams on the west coast of the United States. What happened next in his 30+ year career would have landed him all of the awards we give ourselves in the corporate world today (30 under 30, etc.). He had quite a successful career, but that story is for a different time.
“The green flag always drops on Sunday,” was a phrase that always stuck with me. In racing, you had no choice but to be ready to race each week. You couldn’t extend deadlines, process a change request, or delay something because you were sick. Whether you were prepared or not, the green flag dropped on Sunday. The fact always had a more significant meaning when a friend would die at a race track, only to have the green flag drop the very next week as if nothing happened.
My father told this to me to remind me that you always have to get the job done, no excuses. There are too many people depending on you. Your team, sponsors, and the fans, each week expected you to deliver your job on time.
In project management, we often give ourselves a ton of excuses to delay a project. “We don’t have enough resources,” “the vendor didn’t deliver their part when they were supposed to,” “the timeline was too aggressive at the start.” I have heard them all. And frankly, I have even said them myself at times. Before you decide to delay a project, remember, there are consequences to doing so, even if you don’t see them.
In racing, if you missed your deadline, the impact was undeniable and evident. You would destroy your reputation, hurt your team, anger your sponsors, upset the fans, the list goes on. In the delivery of projects in the professional sector, the impact is less obvious, but it’s still there. For one, you are giving your competition time to catch you. Second, you usually need to increase costs to keep the resources on the team longer. And finally, you are tieing up people and funds that could be spent on other projects.
Before you decide to delay your next project remember this, the green flag always drops on Sunday.
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Company Leadership: Ryan Fischer, CEO and Founder
Board of Advisors: Chris Daum, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at FMI Corporation; Joseph Swarengin, Vice President and US CFO of Krispy Kreme; Adrian Donato, Ed.D, University of Southern California (USC) Lecturer and Founder of InterEd Strategic.