Complete the following exercise.
Think back over the past 30 days. Make a list of the instances in which people did not do what they told you they would do. This may occur in a multitude of disciplines and realms. However, it occurs frequently in Customer Service venues. If you fly, the airlines, all of them, provide an endless supply of such events.
By now you are asking, ‘What is the purpose of this exercise? Glad you asked.
James Kouzes and Barry Posner are the co-authors of The Leadership Challenge. This is an anthology published three times over a period of twenty-four years. They ask respondents from 85 cultures around the globe to rank order a list of important leadership characteristics. Mind you, that is a very significant and very diverse control group. The responses have Validity & Reliability. That is called The Truth as perceived by the respondents!
Each and every time this survey has been conducted the same issue surfaces as the #1 expectation on the part of people when they consider leaders – – DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO!!
Now go back to that list you created. Compare your list to this principle. It is tragically rare in the American culture when people follow through. There are instances when the failure to deliver is not the culpability of the one who made the commitment. However, it remains their responsibility. The proper response is deliver or provide an honest and timely rationale for the failure and a revised target date for correcting the failure. Caution – don’t hold your breath while waiting for this to happen.
All people, mothers, fathers, vendors and most assuredly people in leadership roles MUST honor this principle. It is simple (not always easy but simple) and so vital.
The result? This is so rare that you will be regarded as one who delivers what you promise with excellence. You will be held in high esteem. Most importantly, you will honor the biblical principle of ‘let your yes be yes’ (James 5:12). That matters!