- So in order to be trustworthy, you have to be very careful about what you promise to do, and not promise to do things that are, apparently or that you think, are beyond your capabilities. So how do you do this? There are essentially four conditions for integrity that I'm going to recommend you pay attention to before you say yes. The first one is, do I understand what the person is asking. If you are not sure what they're asking, you can clarify. Say, "Please, sir.
"What are you asking me to do?". Very concretely. "I understand what you'd like, "but I'm not sure what you're asking me to do. "And what I would promise to do if I say yes." So what and by when. You want to be very clear, and make sure that you and the other person are on the same page. But even after that, then you have to think, do I have the resources to get that done. Can I really promise to do that? And you need to make a little mental plan of what it will take to deliver the promise before you say yes.
And it could be as simple as checking your mental calendar to see do you have an appointment for tomorrow at three. It could be getting your personal device from your pocket and checking now do I have that time open. Or it make take a long time to go back and do planning for an extensive project, and you can tell the person, "Let me get back to you tomorrow" or "Let me get back to you in a week "because I have to check that I have the resources "that will be required to do this and "to know what resources are required need to make a plan." So understand the promise that you're making.
Understand the requirements and feel confident that you can deliver with a certain level of certainty. And then ask yourself, do I really want to do this. Is this something I'm willing to commit? Cause being able doesn't mean you have to do it. You have to make a choice. And it's not obvious. I've worked, sometimes of course you have to accept people's requests if you can do them, but not always. And there's a temptation to say yes too fast. And then realize that it's very onerous or you don't feel like doing this and so on.
So do a moment of checking inside, and then if you come out with a yes, feel this small voice inside, and if the voice says, "Yes; yes I want to do this," then you can commit strongly. The last part is preparing to fail. I know that sounds counterintuitive. Why would you prepare to fail? But you're not preparing to fail, you're preparing to fail safe. That is you have to prepare so that if something happens and you cannot deliver on the commitment, you won't let the other person down.
How do you do that? Well first, you need to mechanism to keep track of the process. So for example, if you say you are going to deliver a shipment in a week, well what happens tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day so after a week, the shipment will be delivered to the customer. So you have this process, and you need to have a tracking mechanism to know if the process is going properly or not. Because if the process goes astray, then you need to have a communication means to reach out to your creditor, the person that you're making the promise, to let him or her know that something went wrong.
And then you can have a conversation about how you'll fix it. And that's what I mean by failing safe. You have to prepare for things to happen that are out of your plan. There's a famous story of Mike Tyson when he was about to fight for the championship. And I don't remember his opponent, but they were interviewing both of them. And they asked the opponent of Mike Tyson, "Now what's your strategy?". He said, "Well, you know, I'm going to start by "jabbing and then I'll hit him below." Anyway, he had this very complicated story.
And then the journalist turned to Tyson and said, "Mike, what's your strategy?". Mike Tyson said, "Everybody has a strategy "until they get punched in the face." You're going to get punched in the face by reality. So all your great strategy and all your plans sooner or later are going to encounter something unexpected. And when you encounter something unexpected, are you ready to stay robust? Meaning can you maintain the system in spite of the unexpected punch in the face? A fundamental part of maintaining the system is keeping your integrity, and letting the creditor know that something happened.
And negotiating the creditor how to fix the problem.
- 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.