The other day I sat by the phone waiting for the call about a potential coaching assignment. The phone never rang.
The person who booked the session never bothered to call or write to explain why she didn’t follow through. Was she sick? Did she have to go out of town suddenly? I’ll never know, even though I sent her an email asking. She did eventually call wanting to set up a training session. I declined.
When did it become OK not to honor commitments? Honoring your commitments is a virtue. It’s polite. It’s respectful. It also reflects your character and is part of the impression you make.
You can damage your personal brand if you don’t show up when you say you will or you’re chronically late for appointments.
Responsible people plan their schedules around the commitments they make, and they expect people to keep their commitments to them. If you’re not dependable, you lose all credibility.
You can blame it on the Internet or the fact that everyone seems to have too much to do these days. But that’s just an excuse. It’s insulting when a client, or friend, goes out of his way to do something for you or schedules a date, and you don’t bother to keep it.
Giving to Get
We frequently hear from reporters who have scheduled a media interview that the spokesperson never showed up. That can be disastrous for your company.
Just remember that you live by the relationships you build. Don’t expect a reporter to return your calls if you never return his. Don’t expect any breaks if you have a crisis and you’re relying on the good will you haven’t developed with the reporter because you didn’t follow through on past commitments.
Commitment also means giving to your colleagues, your customers and to your business community. We’ve seen reputations go up in flames because someone thought it was acceptable to renege on a commitment he made to arrange a program for his professional association.
A friend was at an event and started a conversation with someone she didn’t know. It turns out the guest was “in transition” (think out of work) but she was quick to belittle the sponsoring organization and its members by saying, “I don’t have time for these kinds of organizations when I’m working.” How insulting.
Why should she expect help when she never made a commitment to the organization by volunteering for projects or helping to introduce members to important contacts?
Many people ignore the commitment and obligation to say “thank you.” That includes sending thank-you notes. After you’ve made a presentation, do you thank a prospective client for their time? You should.
We all have many commitments – to work, to family, to friends and to country. But we should never forget the commitment to ourselves. That is a commitment to strive for excellence in everything we do, to treat others with respect and expect it in return.
The famous racecar driver Mario Andretti had this advice, “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”
That commitment includes keeping your appointments, following through on your promises and giving genuine thanks to people who have helped you in your job, your career and in your life.