The term “Suspense Date” is one I heard frequently while I was in the Army.
Any time someone wanted something to be DONE no later than a specific DAY and TIME, they would simply issue the order with a Suspense date.
EVERYONE knew what that meant: “Get it DONE by that time, OR ELSE!”
Generally, the person issuing the order and prescribing the suspense date was a higher rank than those performing the mission . . . He was in a position of authority that afforded him the ability to enforce with unpleasant consequences.
It was oft said that those who miss Suspense Dates were performing at “Career Limiting” levels.
I googled “Suspense Date” and google doesn’t seem to know what it means . . . so I guess it’s up to us Military Folks to fill in the blanks.
I believe Suspense Dates have real validity In the “real world.”
Most everyone thinks in terms of setting and achieving goals, right?
This goal setting usually begins with a certain amount of “visioning” . . . get a VERY clear image of the goal in your mind and think about how it FEELS to already be THERE.
Punctuate it with a BIG WHY . . . WHY do you want to achieve that goal?
Many people spend a LOT of time and energy with this visioning but don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of reaching the goals BECAUSE . . . They fail to commit to a SUSPENSE DATE.
These folks set the goals and then settle back into their daily routines and continue to do all the same things with the same intensity and are surprised at their failure to make forward progress.
WHEN will you reach your goal?
Only with a REAL Suspense Date and a REAL consequence for failing to achieve the goal by that date will most folks actually do it.
I have a BIG goal.
I know EXACTLY what it looks like.
I know EXACTLY why it’s important for me to get “there”
I know that I have 24 days 10 Hours and 23 minutes to do it.
The FIRST thing I think of when my feet hit the floor each morning is: “What day is today (Today is 25) and what MUST I do TODAY to be SURE that I’ll reach my goal by EOB (End of Business) on December 30,2013.
I also know my consequence . . . and it’s HUGE.
IN the Army, suspense dates could have life or death consequences or be career limiting.
Same goes for us civilians!