Broken promises

28 06 2007

“The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.”  Napoleon Bonaparte

It’s too easy to make a promise.

We promise the customer that the product will work, solve their problem, and maybe change their lives.

We promise our coworkers that our part of the work will be delivered on time.

We promise our business partners and suppliers that we they can count on us.

We promise to follow up after the initial sales call, that we will always be there with customer service.

We promise that our priority is the customer and the customers satisfaction.

We promise to hit the sales goals and meet the budget.

All our promises are all full of good intentions, it’s what people want to hear, it’s what we want to deliver.

But, can we guarantee that we will deliver?

Never take a solemn oath.  People think you mean it.  Norman Douglas

The best way to ruin your reputation and lower your ability to lead and manage others is to promise something and not deliver.

We make a promise because it gives others confidence, it seems to make negotiations easier and it reflects our hope that all will go as planned.

“All promise outruns performance.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

A common error of new managers and leaders is the perceived need to make promises to their organization and team.

Don’t promise it.

Promises are very powerful compromises, but extremely fragile and difficult to achieve.  Take care when offering them to others.  

In the place of promises, offer firm plans, describe actions and possible outcome, dedicate the time and resources required.

Do more than you say you will.

Perform, don’t promise.

“It is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises but only performance is reality.”  Harold Geneen



3 responses

5 08 2007

At the same time, can’t a promise kept in many situations harvest customers for life?

17 11 2007
Jeff Smith

Today is the age of broken promises. To be loyal is to be naive and a sucker. Only expect this from the young and don’t expect it from them for long, their smart too. Employees learned this lesson over and over again from management. The American worker produced more per hour (more productive) than any other worker in the world. Didn’t matter in the end did it! They got screwed. You see, it’s never been productivity fool. It’s always been creativity, however, management sucked any time for that out of the room long ago. How about spending les time on the gulf course and actually start managing America. Any questions?

17 03 2009

and what about ‘non commercial’ promises? or promises you make to yourself?
oh, well, I know it’s not the topic… but we are working in an art project, and came across this old post, so if you’d like to collaborate, pay a visit! :)
(no està traducido al castellano, pero sí en catalán!)

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