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Procrastinate now...don't put it off!


Almost every organization would like to remove delays to unlocking their team's capacity to generate & implement great ideas. If you can identify & develop new opportunities quicker, your business model has a better chance to survive. No answers here just some thoughts on how these might be related.

I'll procrastinate tomorrow...

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We've all received & given feedback on this topic. For the proactive person, someone who lags a bit can be maddening. For a procrastinator, the person who's overtly proactive can be just as frustrating. When we advise someone to be something they're not it leads to coping. Learning to be effective with the personality, talents & curiosities we possess can relieve this tension. Read some Peter Drucker for more on that!

Instead of creating a typical "to-do" list to prioritize & stay on task, let's check out self-discipline vs. self-control. Lists are great but these two we all have in common. We're naturally good at one while the other needs intention to become more effective.

"Self-discipline refers to achieving desirable behavior while self-control refers to avoiding undesirable behavior." -Marshall Goldsmith

So why do we procrastinate if we generally feel like it's not a positive trait? Conversely, why do we feel in a hurry to get things done? So our desk can look clean? Achieve more? For me, when putting off a task or project it's usually because the timing is wrong. It's not the best time of day for the attention needed to see something through or possibly more thinking is required which means more time. Whatever the situation, knowing ourselves can help us schedule things properly for quality completion. Increased efficiency. Improved effectiveness.

"Done is better than perfect." -Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook

For high achievers doing things perfectly can keep things from moving ahead for collaboration. For procrastinators, the result is the same. Do your job & push it on so the team can work through the project...together! It's not really about procrastination. It's about understanding one another so trust thrives throughout the organization no matter our tendencies.

Innovate or die?

"Innovation takes time, time to dream, time to reflect, time to learn, time to invent and experiment; uninterrupted time when you can daydream!" -Gary Hamel

The law of diffusion of innovation gives us a clue as to how each of us adds value to the process. Some of us are early adopters, some are laggards & more of us are in the middle areas. How do we unlock the capacity to integrate the great ideas from our team?

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All ideas have innate power & energy. The culture we create around how they "compete" is the key. If we instill an "internet" model where ideas compete on equal footing then everyone will feel free to express new opportunities. Where we fall on the scale & how we interact can help us decide what ideas to accelerate & which ones are best to wait on. Every idea has its time. Letting go of the pressure to be "Don Quixote" on all ideas gives us the freedom to discover the best new direction. It's less important to be first than it is to be great at what you've chosen.

Procrastination & innovation naturally live together. Our ability to know each other well enough to take advantage of our natural tendencies makes the difference. The interplay between when we choose to take more time (procrastinate) versus where we fall as an innovator (adopting tendency) can de-conflict team tensions. This leads to inserting the right amount of patience into the innovation continuum so momentum is created throughout the team. The right blend of innovation & procrastination will keep your company from becoming obsolete overnight. The world is counting on the awesome ideas that come as a result of your collaboration & we're excited about what you come up with. As my science teacher said before each quiz....

"Take your time but hurry!" -Clark Harris

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There is a term used in engineering called OBE. Overcome By Events. It refers to a decision or task that you were slated to make but before you were able to, something changed and the decision or task is no longer required. OBEs can be bad i.e. I had the winning lottery numbers but never got around to buying a ticket. They can also be good when some difficult decision or task is no longer required. When I run across a task or decision that I must do, I often evaluate the OBE index and act accordingly. Many a difficult task or decision has been rendered OBE for me and I avoided spending much time or resources on it because I determined it had a high OBE Index. It is one of the pillars I’ve built my life around and it has served me well.


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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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