This post is going to strike an uncomfortable chord with many – but it’s something that needs to be said.
Whether you are talking about large enterprises or bootstrapped startups, there is one consistent practice which will determine both your credibility and to a large extent your success. It’s something we’re taught as children, all throughout the different stages of our education, and hopefully a lesson that is repeated and repeated ad nauseam as we enter the business world. So why is it then that for so many it seems this fundamental principle has fallen on deaf ears?
In case you fall into that category, or have been subject to effects of it, allow me to repeat this one simple business truth.
If you are not going to do what you say you are going to do, then don’t say you are going to do it.
That’s it. Simple.
Yet amazingly powerful, and apparently difficult to practice.
I’m the first one to admit that I have been guilty of not following my own advice. But I constantly strive to make those instances the exception to the rule, rather than my modus operandi.
And that matters.
Whether you are talking about large financial institutions moving billions of dollars a month, or cyber-anything with flashy lights, data dashboards and “machines that go ping,” the one thing that stands behind all of them are people, and the promises they make to each other – whether explicit or implied.
This is particularly important in the world of business development, partnerships, operations, management, customer service, product development, sales, marketing and basically anything else that requires the building and maintenance of relationships between people.
Being able to follow-up and follow-through on a simple commitment, like sending an email or taking a phone call sends a clear and explicit signal, and builds a foundation of trust that you will need when it comes time to discuss executing on a vision or a long-term strategy for the future. Imagine what it says about you, and your ability to deliver in the grand scheme, when the little things are consistently left unattended.
To put it another way, neglecting the basics of professional etiquette doesn’t make you look busy, or powerful. It makes you look like you don’t care enough to bother. And if you don’t care, why should anyone else?
So remember, the secret to getting shit done and being able to execute and rally others around your ambitions – whether those are personal or professional – begins with the simple act of practicing consistency and courtesy. It might be simple, but it’s certainly not easy.
Try making consistency and reliability your personal competitive advantage and you might be surprised at how much further you can get, in achieving both your personal and professional goals.