Most of us don't break our promises on purpose. But as anyone with a seven-year old can attest ("But daddy, you promised!"), promises are in the mind of the beholder. Too often, we fail to realize someone else believed our vague pronouncement committed us to a concrete course of action.
Since keeping your promises begins with knowing whether you've made one or not, in 2010 resolve to know (and keep) your promises better. Never end a client conversation without asking them these two questions:
- What have I agreed to do, and when do you expect me to do it?
- What have I have promised (or predicted) will happen, and when do you expect it to?
Hearing their answers to these questions will help you know if they are hearing what you think you're saying. Most importantly, you'll stop making (unintentional) promises you can't keep. Now, if it would only work with seven-year old little girls….