Lunchtime Links: Using Deadlines to Aid Decision Making

Deadlines will make you sweat, but they also can force you to make tough decisions. Also: the importance of resilience.

Say you’re in a room with 15 colleagues on your association’s staff. Your challenge is to come up with a new strategy that will fix the biggest issue facing your organization, all in one hour. That’s a pretty tight deadline. But the pressure could yield surprising results.

Lessons from the fast-paced world of TV writing, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

On deadline: As a writer for the Showtime original series The Big C, Jenny Bicks is used to working against the clock. But her experience writing for TV hardly prepared her for the pressure she would face when she signed up to participate in the 24-Hour Plays, an annual benefit for the Urban Arts Partnership in which a group of writers, directors, and actors comes together to produce a series of 10-minute plays, all in one day. Working at such a fevered pace, the writers had no time to dillydally, Bicks tells Fast Company‘s Co.Create. Forget about writer’s block. Decisions had to be made. “This process shows you if you just get down to it, if you have no choice, something will come out of you, something interesting could happen,” she says. Does your association set deadlines for big decisions? Maybe it should.

How to bounce back: Resilience is the ability to fall and get back up again. But you also have to learn from your mistakes, says Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. “Those with resilience build on the cornerstones of confidence—accountability (taking responsibility and showing remorse), collaboration (supporting others in reaching a common goal), and initiative (focusing on positive steps and improvements),” writes Kanter for HBR blog. “Entrepreneurs and innovators must be willing to fail and try again. The point isn’t to learn to fail, it is to learn to bounce back.” How do you bounce back?

Wrapping up: Have you ever sat in a meeting that felt like it might drag on forever? Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say it’s possible to tell when a meeting will wrap up by measuring the time it takes to discuss issues and make decisions. In an analysis of 95 different meetings reported on by PsyBlog, researchers share several clues that attendees should look for when trying to determine if a meeting is moving toward a productive conclusion. Are people nodding their heads? Are they using the word “yeah”? It seems silly, but these subtle clues are indicators that the meeting is headed in the right direction. “We hypothesize that at the important parts of the meeting, when the decisions have been narrowed down and few choices remain, the meeting participants would like to ensure that they have all the relevant information necessary to make the decision, and that the outcome will fit within all of their constraints,” the study explains.

What are you reading today? Share your links in the comment section.


Anita Ferrer

By Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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