She was waiting for me when I returned from a meeting. Standing
outside my office door, I could tell by her downward glance, Jodie was not
there to give me good news on the project. Despite her confident,
enthusiastic and definitive style, she failed to deliver what she had
pitched. It was not the first time.
Jodie operated counter to the Scottish proverb advising: "Never let your
feet run faster than your shoes." She was full of ideas, full of promise,
full of idealism, and short on results. Her over-promising was stalling her
career. You see, results are what differentiate people who are winning at
working from people who aren't. Results are how both companies, and people,
prosper. As much as Jodie talked, with absolute confidence, about what she
was going to do, she didn't do it.
There's no shortage of Jodies in the workplace. There are too many people
talking about what they're going to do, want to do, or are thinking about
doing. They paint intriguing pictures with their exuberance and that helps
them get the assignment. But they fail to deliver on the promise. In my
twenty years in management, I found them in both consultants and in-house
staffs. I've even hired a few. I guess I wanted to believe they could do
what they said.
But I learned they're much like town billboards claiming "best hamburger in
the world," or books and magazines touting that I can have flat abs in five
minutes a day, build self-esteem in ten days, and become a millionaire in
five easy steps. While promises may be the essence of advertising, and
over-promising may get books, magazines, products and services sold, they
cause disappointment. Unfilled promises build our hopes and diminish our trust.
So, when you find someone who builds your hopes and enhances your trust,
take note. You see, there's one talent that defines people who are winning
at working. They don't disappoint. They deliver. They consistently produce
what they say they will. And they do it again and again and again. They may
pitch their ideas with passion and exuberance, or caution and logic, but
they don't hype them.
People who are winning at working deliver what they promise. If anything
they under-promise and over-deliver, without ever sandbagging. Every time
they do what they say they're going to do, they build their credibility.
And credibility builds careers. But, there's another benefit too.
Self-esteem soars when you surprise and delight a boss, a client, or a
teammate by delivering more than you promised. Want to start winning at
working? Don't promise more than you can deliver. And kill the hype.
© 2005 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
Sign up to receive Nan's free biweekly eColumn at www.winningatworking.com. Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan.
Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a writer, columnist, small business owner, and on-line instructor. Visit www.nanrussell.com or contact Nan at firstname.lastname@example.org.