September has traditionally been a time of new beginnings. We were programmed for this from our first days in school and, like salmon imprinted for a particular spawning spot, can’t seem to shake it. The calendar page turns and we put away our summer activities and start our fall routine. This, despite the weather staying warm for several more weeks and professional baseball heading into the playoffs. There is no particular reason businesses should change directions in September — other than you and your co-workers have a predisposition to refocus your energy.
As long as it is going to happen anyway you might as well try to make the most of it. If you are an ISO certified company, now is a good time to review training records and to schedule classes for employees who are due for refreshers or cross-training. Or take another look at those year-end goals; you have a third of the calendar year left; plenty of time to get big things done before the distractions of deer hunting season and the year-end holidays.
I have never been a fan of artificial deadlines, although I think real deadlines are great for motivating people. Nothing like the clock ticking down to inspire that game-saving pass or shot. Baseball, as a summer game, has no clock, no deadline. A baseball game can continue on as long as the teams can put players on the field. Some critics think soccer has trouble gaining a foothold (no pun intended) in the U.S. because the game clock counts “up” and you never know for sure when the game is over.
Real deadlines have consequences. If a part or machine isn’t shipped by month’s end, it shows up on the financial reports and influences cash flow, performance reviews, and the placement of future projects. In olden times you didn’t want to “miss the boat” because you could not be sure when the next one would leave. So why not forget the seasonal programming and concentrate on building a team that delivers high-quality, competitive products all year long?