Sounds simple, right? It’s not. Keeping up with your network of commitments can be daunting. I am sure you can think of many times you were disappointed in results.
A key focus area for improving trust is meeting commitments and being accountable for those commitments. If someone on your team is not reliable or competent to do what they say they will, when they say they will, you have a problem with trust. A few reasons people fail to meet their commitments are not understanding what’s being requested, lack of organization, and over-committing.
The requestor and the producer are both responsible for clarifying the request. Being clear on what you want and asking questions if you are not sure what needs to be produced are top ways to avoid misunderstandings. Deliberately repeating back what you are committing to, including what they want and by when, can keep you out of trouble.
Get organized! Dropped commitments happen way too frequently. Get in a routine that works and make a serious commitment to yourself to stick with it. At a minimum use a task list, or find a project scheduling tool that works for you.
Over-committing is a common trap. We get paid to produce, and we all want to say yes to requests. However, saying yes without analyzing the reality of the request and how it fits into your other commitments is essential. You can help performers by asking them if they have the capacity to do what’s involved with your request. If you are the performer, be sure to understand what is driving the request. This may help you understand how much effort it will require. If you cannot hit the date you promised, recommit as soon as you know you will not make it. Frequently recommitting breaks down trust. Consider your track record. How often do you recommit? There is nothing worse than having to explain to a client why you are not going to hit your date.
If you need to know more about this, I will teach a 2-hour workshop titled “Making and Securing Reliable Commitments” at the Larimer County Workforce Center on March 27th. If you are in northern Colorado, join us!