Business success at its very core is based upon a promise.
A promise to deliver a clean, reasonably priced hotel room, a piece of software that works seamlessly every time, and a flight that leaves on time and lands safely.
Underneath all of that are a series of other promises — for employees to show up on time, for people to be trained and responsible to perform their job, etc.
You get the idea.
When a business can develop the muscle and create a culture of managing by commitments, it creates a strong and powerful framework for high-performance.
As a leadership coach in corporate America and a family business coach working with privately owned and operated businesses, one of the first things I look for and listen to is a person’s ability to make clear promises and keep their promises without excuses.
Some of the most successful publicly held companies I work with have a strong and impeccable culture of making and keeping clear commitments. Other companies, both family and public, develop a culture that tolerates sloppy promises and poor execution. Those sloppy cultures are a recipe for disaster.
In the family business, in particular, people fall into the trap of excuse making. They justify their behavior for a variety of reasons, many of which are interesting but all of which are just that — excuses.
When a business can see the correlation between the big commitments — like the ones they make to their customers, and all of the other commitments that are made to their internal customers, they can begin to understand the value of having a strong culture of commitment from the top to the bottom.
Now that I think of it, this culture of commitment idea can start in the home at an early age. Parents modeling the behavior and keeping their promises — teaching their children to learn to make clear commitments and keep their promises. What a great and important skill that is for everyone whether or not they’re even in business!
Take this idea of making and keeping commitments to heart. Do some honest introspection with yourself and take inventory of where you’re keeping your promises and where you are not. Practice listening to yourself and others around the promises that you’re making to each other. Are they clear and actionable or are they vague and foggy?
Learning to make and keep clear commitments is a skill we could all use to improve upon. People who get good at that produce great lives and get the enjoyment of living a life of integrity.