- So you made a clear promise. You had the skills. You had the resources. You had the plan. You're tracking. And then, all hell breaks loose. Something goes wrong. Another famous saying from a Prussian military man, Helmuth von Moltke is, "No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy". I mean, you have a plan, and then the enemy, meaning the world, or luck, or Murphy will put something in to block your path.
But that's life. And now you know that you're not going to be able to deliver on time. In fact, you never know that you're not going to be able. Rarely. Most of the time, it's a risk. The risk just went from negligible to, I don't know, a 50% chance. And there's another temptation there, which is to say, "Oh if I work "really hard and I push it, I don't "have to call the other person because "it's not nice to call someone and say "Hey I don't think I'm going to be able to deliver "It feels stressful and they may get angry.
"I don't to disappoint you, so I'd rather "work really hard and not call you early, "if I can avoid calling you all the better." The problem is this betting with the other person's money. Because the person is waiting for me to deliver something they need. They ask me because they need it for some reason, and I promised to deliver, so if now, I have a 50% chance to not deliver, why it's like playing roulette with their money because if I don't deliver, they pay the price. Something bad is going to happen to them.
I don't even know how bad it is. I may think well 50%, maybe yes, maybe no but maybe this is absolutely crucial. How would you feel if an engineer says, "Well 50% the plane falls, 50% doesn't. "I don't need to fix this". Now you're on the plane, how would you feel if the engineer says, "It's not a big deal, it's only 50%". Well a 50% chance that the plane might fall? You wouldn't get on that plane, but the engineer says, "Well, I don't "want to upset the passengers. "Maybe I'll frighten them, so I don't want to tell the passengers that there's a 50% chance" Of course you want an engineer to tell you, and of course you want people to tell you if there's a 50% chance.
So, don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you. So if you want people to tell you, you need to tell the other people, even though, there is a friction, because it will be nicer not to have the emotional upheaval of telling them and seeing them get upset and so on. It's still your responsibility as a person of integrity to alert people that there is a significant risk of nondelivery, and then let them react to that. Maybe they want to renegotiate or not.
- Explore the questions you should ask yourself before making a commitment.
- Identify when to report a commitment at risk.
- Recognize how to make an effective apology.
- Examine ways to build trust.
- Define the meaning of integrity in business.