In the football world, today is ‘Deadline Day’. In England, clubs have until 6pm this evening to either buy new players or sell players they no longer want. If they fail to do the business they want, they will have to wait until a new, one-month transfer window opens up again in the middle of the season in January.

It’s amazing how much business is done close to the deadline. And what is true for football transfers is equally true for business activity. Most acquisitions of new businesses, for instance, end up as an all-night session with bankers and lawyers on the final date possible. From one perspective the focus of all this activity at the last possible minute feels like a colossal waste of energy and time, but in my view it is inevitable. After intense negotiations buyers and sellers finally have to reveal their hand if they want to do business.

Deadlines work equally well in the delivery of your key projects and initiatives, but you have to ensure that your deadline is a ‘hard stop’ with consequences if you want people to meet it. That means setting up a review point and having ways of rewarding progress and dealing with a lack of action.

How are you establishing your own “deadline days” for your key initiatives?

© Stuart Cross 2015. All rights reserved.