On the Clock: The Importance of Deadlines

By Shari Weiss Nov 04, 2019

Everyone has deadlines. Consider your morning alarm, studying for a test, or shopping for Christmas. Sometimes there’s wiggle room. Sometimes there’s not. At N2, deadlines are of the utmost importance. In fact, we even have a slide in our Culture Deck dedicated to the topic.

When you produce nearly 1,000 publications every single month, deadlines are a must. Area Directors, who sell advertising and collect content for our magazines, have two deadlines for each issue. These dictate when all materials must be submitted so the production process can begin. And at the Home Office, there are deadlines every five days. That may seem intense, but it’s the only way to ensure pubs are created in an organized and timely manner – and make it into the hands of our eager readers and clients when they expect to have it. When a deadline is missed, there can be a ripple effect affecting multiple departments, from Editing to Design to Print. Our goal: Avoid this at all costs.

But what happens when life gets in the way? Mother Nature threw N2 a curve ball last year with Hurricane Florence. Some team members chose to evacuate from Wilmington, North Carolina, and had limited internet access, while others stayed in town and lost internet access altogether. Due to the dangerous weather and subsequent damage, the Home Office was shut down for weeks. An excuse for a vacation from work? Hardly. The circumstances meant everyone who was able had to push even harder to meet our usual deadlines. But we didn’t falter or fret – as it says in our Culture Deck, we always have enough to win.

In this case, that meant one person doing quality checks on hundreds and hundreds of pubs, a responsibility usually split between at least four people in our Prepress department. It meant one new team member – we’re talking someone only days into the job – taking on some of the work of an entirely different department. It also meant sacrificing some of our usual work-life balance and logging hours at some pretty atypical times of the day. Why? Because deadlines.

And what happened almost exactly a year after Hurricane Florence? Hurricane Dorian, of course. Again, N2 adjusted its operations. In anticipation of the storm, and with a lot of uncertainty about its severity, the decision was made to temporarily transfer the task of printing hundreds of pubs from the Home Office to our out-of-harm’s-way Dallas print facility. That meant a lot of extra work for our Texas-based team members. Why? Because deadlines.

But there’s also another reason.

At N2, we believe every problem has a solution. When you have enough to win, there is no stopping a team, or an individual team member, from coming up with a resolution. We have yet to encounter a problem that can’t be solved, and you’ll never see anyone here throwing in the towel. When a deadline is in jeopardy, we put our noses to the grindstone to get it done – someway, somehow – before the clock runs out.

To every reader and every advertiser, we make a promise: a high-quality print publication will find its way to your mailbox every month. The only way to make that happen is with deadlines. And deadlines stop for no one – Mother Nature included.

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