True to your Word


Disappointed with people? Yes sure I think all of us have experienced some sort of disappointment with others specifically when they break promises that we have been counting on. Broken promises leads to questions around character and ultimately a lack of trust. So we end up labelling people whether it is a conscious or unconscious act and that label is difficult to remove ones stapled to the forehead of an unsuspecting recipient. It influences our lives and our relationships directly and sometimes in unexpected ways.

Take the following scenario: You are sitting in a Steering Committee meeting and the Executive sponsor is requesting a specific report from you. Confidently you state that the team would have it done by Monday. Monday comes and goes and no report. Your first reaction, that I will call denial might be that the Executive Sponsor would have forgotten about it, so he would not have noticed that we are late. The second reaction I call the looking for a loop hole, so Monday is still 24h00 right? Thirdly, blame shifting as an option where we call our team to trial.  Alternatively we can stand in the gap and state that we have underestimated the amount of work and it is going to take longer than anticipated. Whatever your decision or approach does not take away the fact that you made a promise that you did not keep. If you have a Sponsor that believes in giving people the benefit of the doubt, you might not get the label immediately, but by the second and third time, none of what you say would ever be taken seriously.

Agreed, we get into situations where we have to make a judgement call and we need to make a calculated promise that has a certain level of risk associated with it. However I have seen too many project managers who takes making promises lightly without consideration to their own, their teams and their organisations reputation. So next time before you make a commitment, be sure to consider your words and the risk associated and rather voice a disclaimer than be the recipient of a label.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *