This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.
The bad news: we’re not as good as we think.
Case in point: I’m always interested to see how participants in my workshops handle the pre-work assignment sent via email. Responses are due to be emailed back to me within 10 days, and it takes about 10 minutes to complete. People generally fall into one of three categories:
- Turn it in late with no acknowledgment (more than half)
- Never turn it in (some)
- Turn it in on time (very few)
So while reliability seems like a “slam dunk” in the world of trustworthiness, there’s room for us all to improve. Why? Because consistency matters, and most of us aren’t consistent across stakeholders. If you apply reliability best practices more with clients and less with, say, a Trusted Advisor workshop leader, then you’re not as reliable as you think you are. That’s the rub of it.
An important note: Perfection is not the goal here; there’s always room for error and for our humanity. Most tardy workshop participants don’t realize the difference it would make—to me, to them, and to the other stakeholders with whom they interact—to simply be in touch on or before the deadline (“I’m going to be late”) or to acknowledge being tardy (“I realize this is late, and that may have had an impact on you”).
We all fail to meet expectations; most of us also fail to restore our reliability by letting others know how much it matters to us.
Make it Real
This week, make it a point to do what you say you will do or what’s expected of you—with everyone. Be reliably reliable. And when you are unable to fulfill on a promise, no matter how small it might be, immediately get in communication to acknowledge the impact and reset expectations. What do you notice as a result of this practice?
- Discover the difference between impeccability and perfection, as it relates to reliability. Or refresh on the ways to accelerate your reliability score in Chapter 21, Accelerating Trust, ofThe Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust.
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