JW Way Fundamental #7: Honor your commitments.
“Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. If a commitment can’t be fulfilled, tell others early and agree on a new commitment.”
Some fundamentals apply only to attorneys, and others may apply only to work, but this fundamental is for everyone, every day, and everywhere! No matter what the circumstances or situation, we all want our friends, children, spouses, fellow employees, clients – and especially our trusted advisors – to honor commitments. We want them to do what they say they are going to do.
This applies to little things “I’ll call you back in 10 min”, the medium things – “I’ll get that done this week” or the big things – “I will meet that important deadline”. While this is important all of the time, it is especially important for those trying to build a valuable personal brand.
The significance of honoring commitments becomes even more apparent when one recognizes that it is an essential ingredient of several of our JW Way Fundamentals: #8 – Act with integrity, #11 – Demonstrate respect; and #15 – Treasure, protect and promote our reputation.
The problem is that no matter how hard we try, there inevitably will be situations where was can’t live up to a commitment we’ve made. The reasons vary, but two common causes are making unrealistic or not well thought out commitments and wanting to please the person by telling the person what they want to hear instead of negotiating a more realistic time frame. In that situation, there is an easy way to address the problem. Apply JW Way #8 and contact the person you made the commitment to, as soon as you know you won’t perform as promised. Say, “I’m sorry, and __________. Would it be ok if it is available to you by ________?” So long as this does not become a habit, the person will understand, and your reputation for dependableness will increase.
Trust is the most essential ingredient to all good relationships and it is even more crucial for attorneys. You must do what you say you are going to do every time to engender trust. We want to have every JW employee honor commitments every time. This week, make sure you honor your commitments every time.