In the last article, we covered decision-making. Once a decision has been made, how do we effectively implement it? It is important to remember that deciding in itself doesn’t mean doing. From decision to action there is a long way. Implementation encompasses an understanding of who will do what by when, accountability, and then taking action. These should ideally be decided when the decision itself is made. Then, for implementation to happen, it is critical to learn how to establish better commitments and how to always honor them, and what to do when unexpected things get in the way.
So, how can we create impeccable commitments?
A commitment is a two-way contract that includes a request and a promise. It looks like this:
- In order to accomplish A, B, C…
- I request you to do X by Z (date).
- Can you commit to that?
This clarifies who will do what, by when, and why.
When it comes to committing, there are only two acceptable possible answers:
- Yes, I commit.
- No, I do not commit.
While there are three we can accept until one of the above emerges from the process:
- I commit to respond (by a certain date).
- I need clarification (on any of the elements).
- I counter-offer (on condition of my acceptance).
But let’s also remember that things can be unpredictable, and oftentimes circumstances change. Still, we can always honor our commitments, even when delivering is at risk. So, how do we assess integrity in commitments?
Sincerity in commitments is only making promises you intend to keep. This means:
- You believe you understand the commitment.
- You believe you have the resources and skills to fulfill it.
- You intend to apply your energy to the task (will).
- You have done substantial planning to mitigate risks.
Honorability in commitments means honoring your promises, and unconditionally fulfilling them whenever possible. If the commitment is at risk:
- Alert the creditor immediately.
- Apologize and offer an explanation.
- Inquire about potential damages and offer reparation.
- Learn for the future.
Can you imagine living in an organization (and a world) where the above become true? How could our relationships improve? And our customer centricity? And our accountability? Just think of how life would be if we were told something is at risk as soon as it emerges and not after.
Guidelines for Impeccable Commitments
Following these guidelines in implementation helps to ensure that the productivity and effectiveness of meetings, conversations, and decisions made do not go to waste. Further, it adds to the quality of authentic relationships and conversations if we can abide by some standards. That way, even if circumstances change, things are not irreparable. A new way forward can be found, we can take care of our expected outcomes and the relationship can become even stronger because we know we care for each other.