Make and Keep Commitments

FranklinCovey Content Team

Are you damaging your credibility through too many unfulfilled commitments? Are you a serial over-committer?
Everyone’s bandwidth is different in terms of their capacity to take on and execute their commitments with excellence. If you find yourself in the mess of overcommitting and underdelivering, consider exercising uncharacteristic restraint the next time you’re approached by a colleague, friend, or family member. They may be unwittingly attempting to move you past your breaking point. 
Our capacity to do is always more than our capacity to do with excellence. No reasonable person can resist a response like: “I truly would love to be a part of that, but I’m so cognizant of not wanting to disappoint you and others I’ve already committed to that I’ll have to decline. If something changes with my current level of commitments, I’ll surely reach out to you. Thank you so much for your trust in me.”
The shorthand version of this is, “Let me get back to you on that.” 
Many leaders love to say yes. But we need to love no much more. Completing 8 for 8 projects is better than completely 8 for 10.

How to Make and Keep Commitments:

  • Choose a project or relationship that needs your attention.
    • Identify an unfulfilled commitment in this area.
    • How can you realistically follow through with it?
    • Acknowledge to the person your awareness of having not (yet) met your commitment, and recalibrate expectations on whether/when you will.
  • Exercise integrity in your next “moment of choice” by being willing to politely say no.
  • Inventory your current commitments. Realistically determine whether you need to unwind some of them. Your greatest gift may be to back out before you fail them and further violate expectations.
  • Make sure your commitments are balanced — work, play, health, growth, outreach, etc.

Learn more on making and keeping commitments by watching this short clip from Scott Miller, author of the book Management Mess to Leadership Success.

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