What could possibly go wrong? Irrational fears

We’ve all had a nightmare at work at some point and project management in its own right is probably home to more war stories than most professions – but how does this affect our lives and perceptions moving forward? For most of us, we learn from our experiences and carry a great deal of battle scars which tend to make us a little more wary if not more prepared when venturing into a new challenge, however sometimes we can let our thoughts and actions go into overdrive and start having irrational fears.

I will share with you an irrational fear I used to have when I worked for a large blue chip business. On a Monday morning – I was tasked with gathering the weekly financial data for output of all the European manufacturing sites. Once I had all the data I had to produce a report of all the figures for a meeting with the heads of sites, company president and other senior managers’. So as you can imagine – this was a task which could not be put to the back of the “to do” list, in all fairness I found the task a bit of a bore but also knew the importance of having the report ready an hour before the video conferencing. I would contact all of the logistics managers across the manufacturing sites every Monday with a friendly email reminder, followed by a call for those who still hadn’t sent over their reports. Now I don’t want to single out a particular site but there was one which was notoriously late with their reports, in fact they were so bad that I would have called at least 3 times after the initial email which never generated a response. I would be patched through to various departments on each call and basically told that the relevant staff had gone for lunch. Sometimes this was mid morning (even with the time difference), so it became a bit of a joke that this site were basically always eating. This is where my irrational fear came about – as I got it in the neck for my report being late and it was always this site which made me late (despite many meetings /conversations and discussions trying to clarify what the issue was at their end) that I began to believe that they were in fact all sat eating ALL DAY on a Monday.

From then on, I have always been very keen to plan project meetings well ahead of deadlines with the manufacturing site in question – even making up deadlines to be well ahead of the real deadlines in a bid to try and get my projects completed on time; it worked and I did just hit my deadlines on projects but the financial reporting never got in on time from them.

I would love to hear of your irrational fears – whether at work or home, sometimes they can prove to be productive.

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