Friday, March 16, 2012

Promises Made and Kept

The concept of kept promises seems to be ambiguous of late. I was just having this conversation with a colleague the other day. Many make promises at the drop of a hat without any reflection beforehand. Can they keep the commitment? Do they have the bandwith to add something else to their plate before saying "I'll do this" or "I'll be there" before they dive in and make that promise? 

Others love to use the expressions " I hope to be able to". Hope doesn't make things happen. Doing makes things happen. Or "I'll try to...." As Yoda is famous for saying "Try? Try not. Do!" If you don't have the bandwith to do it properly and in the timeframe you promised, then don't.

This morning in Seth Godin's blog, "Specific Promises, Kept" he hit the nail right on the head when he stated :"The power of the specific, measurable and useful promise made and kept is difficult to overstate." 

The thing is, it's up to us as the recipient of the promise to hold the other accountable. That's not to say we have control over whether or not other people honor their commitments. We have the right to decide whether or not to engage with and believe in that individual in the future. After all, we are our word. If we promise lightly with no intention of honoring that promise why would people trust us in the future? And why would they expect we will trust them in return if their words are empty?

The biggest gift you can give clients, customers, colleagues, friends and family alike is to be honest about what we can give and do.... and what we can't.

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