Honoring Commitments

PrintDo you have business associates, friends, and others who make commitments to do something and then constantly miss the due dates promised?

Some time ago I wrote an article on Keeping Promises is Good Etiquette (also at http://www.advancedetiquette.com/blog/everyday-life/keeping-promises-is-good-etiquette/). This article focused on the importance of keeping promises made when borrowing and returning borrowed items and other similar situations.

Today’s tip focuses on all other commitments we make with someone to provide and perform specific tasks.

Do these promises sound familiar?

  • “I’ll call you right back.” But a return call never arrives, thus requiring you to be the person who has to call again?
  • “I’ll get you the info/report/evaluation by tomorrow.”Several tomorrows come and go, and you have to request the item again and again before it finally arrives.
  • “I’ll email you by Friday with dates we can meet.” The email never arrives.
  • “I will attend your event.” The person doesn’t show up.
  • “I’ll send you a brochure.” The brochure never arrives.
  • “I’ll call you back with the answer by tomorrow.” The answer never arrives.
  • “I’ll call you when the item arrives in the store for you to pick up.” The call never arrives.
  • “A credit will be placed back on your account within 48 hours.” You wait a week and it still doesn’t appear back in your account. You are left wondering why it takes an instant to be charged and so long for the credit to be returned?
  • “It’s important to receive your information immediately in order to approve your order.” You provide the info, and then the other person never responds. It’s hurry up and wait!

Lessons learned: All the above and more drive me up the wall. However, here are a few tips to help keep things under control.

As the person making a commitment: It sounds so simple: Do not make commitments you do not plan to keep. Otherwise you are not a responsible person. You give the impression you do not respect the person to whom the commitment was made and you do not have integrity.

When you are unable to fulfill your commitment by the due date, be the first person to contact everyone involved with an apology and a new due date. It is never a good situation when other people have to chase you down for what you committed to doing. Thereafter, make every effort not to miss the next due date and others in the future to rebuild trust. Each time you do not follow through with your commitments your credibility and professionalism diminishes.

As the person making the commitment, you must be the one who stays in touch with everyone involved.  When acknowledging commitments made, you show you are a reliable and responsible person with high integrity. Never be someone who habitually stands people up. There is no other way to describe such behavior than to say it is downright rude and inappropriate.

As the person seeking a commitment: You must be clear in your assessment of the situation and do not prolong broken commitments. Adopt a “three strikes and you’re out” mentality to avoid a lingering situation. Do not expect the other person—whether a potential client, business partner, colleague or friend—to be appreciative of your good intentions with periodic reminders.  It may turn against you as constantly “bugging” them.  Rather, let their broken commitments be the cause of why situations do not take place, regardless of how much you care about “helping” the situation turn out well.

Question: What broken commitment situations have you experienced that causes you to climb up a wall… suggest remedies as a way to benefit all viewers.

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to "Honoring Commitments"

    • Syndi Seid says: