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Secret to Winning Their Commitment

Keep your promises.

I would suggest it is that simple. We make subtle promises every day.

“I’ll call you.”

“If you get that to me by the end of the day, I’ll review it tonight.”

“If you get As and Bs on your report card, I’ll take you to Silver Dollar City.”

Have you heard that trust is built or lost over time?

I disagree.

Trust is the international currency we deal in daily. And it’s volatile.

The problem is, we don’t often see the impact of our failures immediately; it takes time for eroded trust to manifest itself in a person’s behavior.

Then, as leaders, it takes even longer to notice that change in someone. When we do notice, we may never connect it to the off-handed promise we made last month but failed to keep.

I learned this lesson recently (I fail all the time and it’s hard to connect when we fail, easier to learn when we do it right.)

There’s a talented student leader I once worked with, very committed to his work and to the team. I saw that in his behavior and paused to ask myself why he stood out…and FLASHBACK:

I once made a promise to him while in an all-team meeting—to give him a gift card to a local café for doing exceptional work on a relatively small assignment.

After that meeting, I went out and got the gift card. I carried it in my wallet for the next several days.

The next time I saw him, he waltzed up to me to ask if I remembered.

I gladly awarded him the certificate. He seemed shocked!

A $5 gift card. A kept promise. A standout student leader.

Don’t stop making promises. Just do everything you can to keep them.


Written by: Clayton Anderson, Former Milestone Associate

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