How often do you keep commitments that you make to others? Saying yes when you know you won’t, or saying yes to a deadline knowing you can’t make that. Are we even conscious that we’ve just made a commitment – a promise if you like? And then we sometimes wonder why people chase us, send reminder emails or worse still begin to not believe us.
Keeping commitments is a fundamental part of building trust with others. Every time you do then unconsciously the recipient builds a little more trust and faith with you. Keep doing this and over time you’ve built a track record of credibility and reliability. Yes we all fall off the horse occasionally but when you do then with your track record there is quick forgiveness. However if your ability to keep commitments is spasmodic, then you run the risk that one day the forgiveness isn’t there. Or there might be but there will also be other consequences. Think about it, if someone you know regularly defaults on keeping commitments then what expectations do you have when you have future interactions. Are you surprised or disappointed when they don’t make it on time, or cancel? Or do you build it in as an option, a if they do then I’ve got this as a back up.
As the stakes raise though and the consequence of someone not keeping a commitment has a bigger impact what do we do? Well we look around for extra reassurances that this won’t happen. But in the first place we always look for a person. People do change suppliers for cost savings, and right now with the recession there is more “good deal” hunting going on. Yet more business is still done on trust than cost saving. How many of us have moved supplier for a saving, only to have interrupted service, delays, stock issues, or a whole host of others problems that take time and resources to solve. So if the impact of a let down is significant we’re going to look for someone we can trust and whilst is doesn’t show up in the profit and loss accounts it’s very definitely got a price. Although a better way to think about it is as an investment, that pays dividends.
Now what about yourself, how often do you keep the commitments you make to yourself? For me I’ve found the harder part was keeping commitments I’d made to myself. So I’ve been working on improving that. I now find myself thinking – is this a commitment or an ideal, a promise or a maybe. It other words how much do I trust me to do what I promise to myself.
Focus on this for a couple of weeks and notice what changes for you.