Workplace: On the Fly

“On the fly” means to be doing something while already in motion or while progress is underway. Likely, the activity is happening without much planning and without taking time to assess the situation once actions are in motion. Online listed synonyms include “doing something quickly” and “half-a**ed” – hmm. One site listed 91 words/phrases with similar meaning. I can hear the warnings loud and clear.

Individual contributors may have strengths in the arena of doing things on the fly, quickly, under pressure, and amidst changing circumstances or deadlines. Teams on the other hand need to have clear project and performance plans and work each plan purposefully.

Quality, safety, and sometimes lives depend on purposeful, methodical, and carefully planned actions – the opposite behaviors of working on the fly. Individuals and teams need – and want – clear workplans with defined goals and achievable projected results. Without a sense of where we are heading, it is easy to move to an on the fly work mode. With a sense of direction and purpose, people are more able to reach goals and produce meaningful results.

While traveling by car a few years ago, in the heat of high-dessert summer (think 100 degrees), the air conditioning stopped working. To keep myself and passengers cool/calm, I found the nearest gas station with a convenience store and stopped for cold water bottles to ease the pain (and suffering) of making it the last three hours to home. Despite the on the fly water-stop, tempers flared. Yet, we had to continue in discomfort to make it home.

Work projects sometimes breakdown mid-process. Consider what stop-gap measures or process improvement actions can get work back on track. In moments of danger unfolding, on the fly decision making might be required to salvage a situation, shut down a process, or save a life. After the threatening event, debrief and take time to build a plan for the future.

What is happening on the fly in your organization? Should it be?

What can you do to improve planning, processes, and performance?

Too much “on the fly”?  Ready to improve performance? Explore Mastermind experiences.    Let’s visit.   Jana Kemp 208-367-1701 

As the author of seven books, three of which are on use of time and decision-making, Jana has been interviewed by U.S., Canadian, and European programs, and magazines.

Workplace – the Blog: Managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives takes work. Together, let’s explore what issues and activities affect us every day (or some days) that we go to work. Together we can find working solutions.

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