Keeping your promises

Keeping your promises

Keeping your promises

Keeping your promises can be a measure of how well you do in business. We all know what it feels like to be let down. The disappointment, the reduction of trust levels and worse the promise you made on the back of someone else’s promise. I remember seeing a slogan from a delivery company, “Delivering your promises” and concluded that we all need to rely so much on others, it’s hardly surprising that we trip up or get let down. So many of the things we need to do rely on others and in a multi-complex interlinked society, the probabilities of things going wrong are magnified.

So, what is the solution? Firstly, know that the average person struggles with this too. To be above average, outperform or get a reputation for being reliable and trustworthy, the leap is not a big one. You do need some rules though, or you will become the also-ran we are sadly all used to these days.

Rule No 1.

Do not make a promise or say yes, unless you can consider all the elements of the equation at that point. It is better to delay a yes than to promise it and need to or be forced to break it. This rule seems simple, yet there are many layers. How do you hold a diary? Is it electronic, so that all who could be involved, would see it and you cannot clash with them if you said yes and put it in the diary now? How do you think others would feel if you said yes and as the impact would change things for them, you would be treating them to a disappointment? People, resources, timelines, other elements of impact and even your energy or commitment levels are all in play here. DO NOT SAY YES UNLESS YOU ARE SURE.

Rule No 2.

Does keeping this new promise align with your goals, your needs or does it compromise them. This test rule is easy to overlook. Clog or cleanse, enhance or undermine, compromise or build? If you are asked by a client to cut corners, how does this sit with your moral compass? Does eating the pudding mean you’ll feel less fit and struggle to play the game you promised to tomorrow with your team members because you’ll feel sluggish? BE AWARE OF THE CONGRUENCY OF YOUR PROMISE.

Rule No 3.

Can you ensure follow through? When you make a promise, and you only get 80% of it completed, you’re still letting that person down. Just because your got most of it done, you are not let off the hook. Ask yourself or the person asking for the promise, what does finished or completed promise look like? How will I know I have met my promise to you?


Often, we hear the phrase, under promise and over deliver and unfortunately, this is disingenuous.  What truly makes a difference is keeping your promise. Keeping your promise helps build relationships, businesses faith and families. The future seems so much more possible with a promise keeper than a person who lets you down, even if they do so only now and then.


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