Do you want to be successful? Of course you do. Today I am going to share with you an important quality that successful people have in common. If you do not have the success you want, this will be invaluable in moving you that direction. It’s not always an easy quality, but it is imperative. You might not like it. Are you ready? Here it is:
KEEP YOUR AGREEMENTS
It’s simple and I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. If you are reading this and you think, “yeah, I already do that,” think again. You may, but it is worth examining. And I have seen, there is always room for improvement. Below are the things we tell ourselves that may allow us to believe we are keeping our agreements, when we are not:
1. “I’ve got a really good excuse.”
“I got really busy.”
“Something very important came up.”
“My schedule got overloaded.”
“Someone gave me a rush project.”
“This was an unusually busy week.’
Even if you have a great excuse, you still aren’t keeping your agreements. We all know the people who don’t keep their agreements on a regular basis and they always have a reason. Do you care that there was a really good reason when the person you are meeting is late or doesn’t show up or calls to cancel? Excuses do not help to redeem this behavior. There are very few excuses that will redeem your trustworthiness when you break an agreement. And there are NO excuses that will redeem your trustworthiness when you consistently break your agreements.
2. “That wasn’t really an agreement.” We often use this one when we are meeting with friends or family or people who we think won’t care if we don’t show up. We’ll be on time for our most important client, but not for dinner. We’ll certainly make it to court on time, but not to the restaurant to a meet a friend. But here’s something to know – if you said you would do it, it’s an agreement. And it means something to people when you don’t keep your agreements. If your teenager says, “will you drive me to the mall today?” and you say “yes,” you have made an agreement. If you break it, you are affecting the integrity of that relationship. You are showing her that your word does not matter. Be very clear what are agreements and what are not. Anytime you say “yes” to a request, you have made an agreement. If you do not wish to make an agreement or are unsure if you can keep it, say that and say it clearly.
3. “That wasn’t an important agreement.” This one is overlooked a lot and therefore very common. This is the excuse of the busy professional who says yes to a lot of things, because he means well, but in his mind he is prioritizing his agreements. Integrity is the cornerstone of business and is built on trust. You will not have trust if you are not keeping ALL of your agreemennts. And you may be VERY good at your job, but without trust, people will not want to do business with you. When you prioritize your agreements, and break (or constantly reschedule) those that you decide are not important you are telling people they cannot count on you because other things are more important. That breaks trust in a big way.
In the end, you will stand out from the crowd if you keep your agreements. And if you are a business owner, you need to stand out from the crowd. I work with a lot of law firms and when talking about time management strategies, we often discuss setting boundaries around responding to emails. What I hear so often is “this is a very competitive market and if we don’t respond right away, the client will go to another attorney.” Yes; it is a competitive market. But being on call for people is not nearly as important as doing what you said you would do. It is a competitive market. You must stand apart.
So check yourself. Where can you improve?
P.S. If you want some feedback on how your behaviors engender trust (or don’t), click on the following link for a free survey you can send to people you know and have them respond anonymously. You will receive a report on how and why people trust you (or don’t).