If You Promise: Deliver

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jul 09

This weekend, my stepson offered to cook my wife and I dinner — if I were to help. I gladly accepted the offer because he is eight years old and would need the help. Plus, he would learn a bit about cooking. Of course, this offer and acceptance was in the morning and the cooking for dinner was late in the afternoon. And you know what happened: when it came time to cook, my stepson was nowhere to be found.

Fortunately, I know how to cook pretty well and a great dinner was had by all, including my stepson. But, over dinner, we had a clear conversation about when people make commitments, they need to keep the commitment or it breaks the trust of the other person.

Then, today, Timothy L. Johnson of Carpe Factum writes about Taxing our Memory; the effort of the City of Des Moines to up the sales tax by a penny — using the same arguments they did about ten years ago and never delivered on the promises of the revenue then. The City broke their commitment and now the citizens are overwhelmingly against the new tax.

Timothy relates this to office politics (by the way, buy his book — GUST, the Tale Wind of Office Politics; it’s great) by noting that people who make commitments to you at work and then leaving you high and dry on the delivery get all future promises “strained through the crap-meter.”

Works for me.

So, Cubicle Warriors, how often do we commit and then not deliver? If it’s often, we could get a lecture over dinner or strained through the crap meter too. If you don’t mind, I’ll deliver and pass on the straining…

  • Hi Scot,

    Thanks to Jason Alba, I’ve just discovered your wonderful blog. This is one of my favorite topics of discussion, and I recently did a whole post on the importance of reliability in the workplace. Feel free to check it out. Hope to have the chance to meet you soon.

    Alexandra Levit
    Author, They Don’t Teach Corporate in College
    Blogger, Water Cooler Wisdom

  • Scot – great post and glad to see the family didn’t starve. It’s amazing how simple yet impactful the concept of follow-through can be. You’ve illustrated it very well (and thanks for the “link love”)

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