No sexist intention here, this also applies to women. Just using the term of art. Well, what am I talking about then?
The Value of Honoring Agreements
The failure of my wife’s nephew to show up for two promised sessions to work the yard reminded me of an axiom that I have found increasingly true and important as I go through life. It focuses on a means we can employ to make consistently good judgments about others.
Choosing our friends, partners, employees, spouses; these are the most important decisions we make in life. That is because these are the people you will rely upon to enrich your life in all aspects. The heartbreak when you judge poorly is deep. The riches that flow from choosing wisely are priceless.
But, alas, people are not what they seem, people change. How can you know? I have found that the single rule of thumb that is nearly foolproof is whether individuals honor their agreements, no matter how small. What is their trustworthiness? Let me list some sample agreements to illustrate the point:
- Paid me back on time
- Was never late
- Completed tasks on schedule
- Never canceled
- Always showed up
- Delivered what he said he would deliver
- Always called you back
These are just the everyday events of life. But one’s character will dictate whether these small agreements are sacred or just something you intend to do as long as something else doesn’t come up.
Think about it, if the promises one makes to you are not important, then how important are you to them? If you are not important to them, then why are you putting yourself at risk to rely on them in your business or the rest of your life.
Too often I find that individuals set a personal standard of only having to have a good excuse. They don’t even feel the need to let you know in advance of that excuse and come to a new agreement. Rather, they are comfortable just letting you know when they do show up in your life next. It is as if having that excuse makes them no longer responsible for the promise they made to you in the first place. Reality is, they don’t hold these as promises. But do you?
In organizations where this organizational culture is the norm, I refer to it as an organization characterized by
“reasons rather than results”.
My take is that if it is okay to not honor even the smallest of agreements, then I can’t count on you. And that, at the end of the day, is “the measure of a man”.
For more on “Results, not Reasons” as it applies to teamwork, accountability and individual performance, check out the following newsletters: The Power of Accountability, The Currency of Teamwork and Performance Set By Example.