Saturday, April 9, 2011

Whatever Happened to Keeping Your Word ?

I am continually amazed at how far we have fallen away
from the "good old days" ...
 - when a man's word was his bond
 - when a handshake was all it took to seal a deal
 - when getting married meant living "happily ever after"
 - when promises made were kept, if only because you said you would

I shouldn't be so discouraged by this, but it seems to be an epidemic affecting our whole society and the world at large.  Everywhere you look people are saying "I'll do this" or signing contracts that promise a certain quality of work, and then bailing as soon as things get tough or require real "work" to achieve.

I have a few work related examples from my own personal life (I chose work because it seems like any other area I pick, such as politics, parental responsibilities, scholastic endeavors, etc. would be subject to lots of different opinions and complaints about my "uneducated" perspective).  Here they are:
 - As leaders, we are promised "monthly reports" on the results of our team members by the first Friday following month-end.  I think this has happened once thus far this year.  33% commitment keeping is not a feel-good.  It also makes it very difficult to recognize improvement or decreases in performance early enough to give timely kudos or feedback.
 - I have direct reports who commit to making improvements in certain performance areas then simply shrug their shoulders and say "I don't know what happened.  I'll try to do better next month." when they see that they did not meet their goal.  The Jedi Yoda said "Do or do not.  There is no try."  Maybe I'll TRY do some Yoda coaching!  :)
 - I receive e-mails from peers or superiors promising responses to my questions or procedural updates or plans to meet with me by such-and-such date, only to see that date come and go with no response.  Truth be told, without follow-up on my part, I wonder if some of these things would ever get done.

I don't mean to rant here, especially since I am prone to the same decay of commitment.  I know that I personally have made commitments and not followed through.  I am fairly confident that it has always been an honest mistake, but I'm probably wrong on that at least every once in a while.  I try to make notes of things I have agreed to do.  I set calendar reminders and wherever possible I will complete the task or assignment immediately so that I won't accidentally forget.

I just wonder if society might not begin to be a better place if we started being more open and honest with one another.  Instead of worrying about how we might be perceived, why can't we just be straight with each other?  I think I will try (master Yoda would be disappointed) DO this in the coming week and report back in this blog.  Maybe then I'll have an answer to this blog title question.



  1. My absolute favorite moment of spring is when I can go out to my perennial garden and see my flowers peeking through the wreckage left from winter. New life beginning all over again!

  2. Preach on brother! You are so right! Your quote from Yoda was spot-on and is a great mantra to follow!