I feel like we are running out of time to get anything done. Some people will identify the fact that there are too many meetings, which get in the way of getting things done. Some people will blame constant interruptions. Some people will tell you the pace of change is speeding up. They are all right, but paying attention to some of the symptoms. One of the biggest problems is the shrinking calendar.
Let's look at how the calendar shrinks, month by month.
Early in the month we are gasping for breath after closing the previous fiscal year, so nothing really gets done the first two weeks. Everyone spends time talking about their holidays and getting ready for the new year. Plans and budgets are being allocated, so no body can do much anyway.
Throw in MLK day and the long weekend and nothing significant gets done before January 20. Then, suddenly, we're at the end of the month, just getting our budgets and yearly plans, and worrying about closing the month.
The first few days we are gasping for breath after closing January and starting to put new plans in place. We've got our marching plans and budgets and starting to implement things for the year. February is short so its over before you know it.
First week spent catching our breath from closing February, and recognizing that the end of March is a month end and a quarter end. Oh brother. Also, most schools have a spring break so parents juggle or take time off during March for kids being out of school.
Finally, the first quarter is over. We can spend a few days catching our breath and receiving the results and updating our plans based on the results of the first quarter. Changes to the plan go into effect. We are beginning to pick up speed now.
As usual, a few days to catch our breath over the closing of April, but still full speed ahead into May. Really hitting our stride now. Only Memorial Day looms as a bump in the road to getting things done.
Starts out slowly due to Memorial Day, and the issues with closing May. Realize that the month, quarter and half-year end this month. Must get a lot done by the 30th. School lets out so parents start juggling again.
June ends so all the closings - month, quarter, half-year take a while, plus the 4th on top of that. Vacations start in earnest so no one wants to start new projects in July. Everyone on cruise control through July.
Start anything important in August? Are you kidding?
The usual closing issues and of course the Labor Day weekend, so September starts slow but picks up speed fast. Everyone realizes the end of a month and end of a quarter are looming.
We hit our stride again. Moving much more quickly after the usual closing issues. People staring at the end of the year and want to finalize this year and start the planning/budgeting process for the new year upcoming.
Must move quickly and retain momentum. Thanksgiving staring us in the face. Not much happens Thanksgiving week.
Really, only 15 working days in December and most of those are focused on wrapping up loose ends and some planning for the new year. No new projects get started. Everyone knows we'll be closing a month, quarter and year, so all attention is focused in that direction.
When you add it up, it's hard to get up to speed on any initiative until early March, since plans and budgets are so late to get finalized and distributed, and you've got until late June to get a lot of things accomplished, because nothing new starts in July or August. If we were honest with ourselves we'd follow the European approach and just take the summer off.
Time spent on budgeting, closing a month and so forth is baked in, so you find it hard to get anything done in the first few days of a month (closing last month) and the last few days of the current month (getting all the deals in). While we have a 12 month calendar work our work year, it's almost as if the calendar is a two lane highway that passes through different speed traps and bypasses throughout the year. Not until early March do you get out of the stop-and-go traffic lights to hit the bypass, and you've got to make good time through June, at which point it's a winding, country road with rubberneckers for the next two months. Then its step on the gas from September to late November, at which point we may as well pull over to the rest area.
There are two problems with achieving and keeping working momentum, one business created and the other ancestral. The business problem is quarterly closing, the ancestral one is basing the school system on an agrarian schedules - neither of which really matter anymore. A good business with strong financial systems should be able to present rough numbers about operations on any given day, and we ought to offer a more flexible yearly vacation schedule for our workers by changing the school systems our children attend.