There are many things I can live without or look past, but one thing I consider a critical part of the foundation in any relationship is trust. I think this belief partially stems back to my younger years and repeatedly hearing my Grandmother say to anyone that would listen “I can handle many things, but I can’t (and won’t) tolerate a lie”.
There are literally hundreds of ways that trust is built in your career as well as in your personal life, and there is a saying you have likely heard many times rings that true for me in both areas; “Say what you’re going to do and then do what you say”. It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? However, many people miss the consequences of not being able to deliver on this.
Think of someone that has made a commitment to you on multiple occasions and then hasn’t delivered. Think of a friend that has promised you something and then didn’t follow through. What is your trust level with these types of individuals? Now think about a time recently when you made a commitment to a colleague, friend or family member and then didn’t deliver. If you want to frame this very boldly, making a commitment and then not following through is almost like telling a lie and as a result, can deteriorate trust in that relationship in the same way.
There are many reasons why people don’t follow through on what they say they are going to do, which can include lack of time, lack of a proper system to track what they’ve committed to and in some cases, they just said “yes” because that’s what the person wanted to hear and they never did plan on taking action in the first place. All of these ‘excuses’ can be overcome by under-committing and over-delivering, setting proper expectations, implementing effective systems to track deadlines and to-do lists and being realistic about what you commit to.
As you continue to build your reputation as a leader, as well as a trusted friend and family member, I challenge you to be extremely self-aware in regards to the commitments you make and ensuring you deliver as you promise. Trust, or a lack of it, will play an important role in how your future unfolds in many ways.