“They told me.” I bet you’ve said that more than once in your life and I bet it is was about someone letting you down.  This is what I want to talk to you about today.

You see, the problem we have is that we think we’re supposed to believe what comes out of other people’s mouths.  All too often this works out to not be the case.  In fact, I bet that over the years you’ve learned that with some people you just can’t believe what they say.

Why do people not always tell the truth you ask?  The answer for me is pretty simple.  It comes down to we think we follow through better, we believe we can do more than we really can, or it’s just easier for us to lie.

Is this something we all do?

I bet that from time to time you’ve had the experience of not telling the truth about something.  It might have just been something we omitted from the conversation, or it might be what we consider a white lie.  Or, you could be one of those people who has a really hard time with commitments.

You think all of the things you’re promising can get done, and when it comes to delivering on the promises you just plainly run out of time.

Then there are the rare people who you can take their word to the bank.  When they say, they’re going to do something you can always count on it being done.  The people who fit into this category often have a core value of follow-through or keeping promises, so it’s not that they work hard at keeping their promises, they just can’t seem themselves not doing so.

What can I do if I can’t trust what others tell me?

This is the crux of the situation.  We depend on what others tell us they’re going to do for us to know whether we can trust what they say.

One of the things my father taught me was to not listen to what people say, watch what they do.  This my friends is what I want you to do.  I want you to build trust with those who deserve it and realize that there are others who talk a good game and never deliver.

One of the four areas of building trust with others is reliability.  Reliability doesn’t come from what you say.  It comes from what you do.  If you walk your talk, there’s a good chance others will easily trust your word.  If you don’t, then you know how you’re going to be seen.

It really does come down to under promise and over deliver.

If you want to be seen as someone who is uber-trustworthy, this is the statement for you.  When you under promise and over deliver you are not only walking your talk, you delight the person you’re working with because the extra you provide is often a surprise that delights.

For example, when you buy shoes from Zappos, they tell you you’ll receive your shoes within 48 hours.  But, the next day the package arrives you’re delighted and surprised, at least the first time this happens.  The second time, you say it looks like this is what they do and by the third time, the 24 hour delivery becomes an expectation.

The thought I have around this is that when you over deliver you want to have an element of surprise in the equation.  Otherwise, going above and beyond becomes part of the deal and not an appreciated extra.

Then there are times where you want over-delivery to be expected.  One of the ways I do this is I believe five minutes early is late.  I want anyone I deal with to know that when I say a particular time, they can count on that time is real.  This is one of the ways I show respect for others.  How do you show respect in what you over-deliver?

At the end of the day, it’s about trust and whether you’re building or tearing it down.

Telling the truth is a way to build trust.  Not telling the truth is a great way to kill trust.  If you happen to be in a position where you’ve said you’ll do something and you find out it can’t be done, that’s when you need to be proactive and let the other party know that you’ll be late or can’t deliver.

The other person you’re interacting with might not be thrilled to hear that you can’t deliver, but at least you won’t be seen as being untrustworthy.

There is one important point you need to remember if you need to change an agreement.  Don’t make excuses for why you can’t do it.  No one wants to hear it.  They just want to know when they can expect what you promise.  The second time, make sure you do deliver.  You can often get one bite of the apple when it comes to changing an arrangement, but rarely two.

What do you think about walking your talk?  How annoyed do you get when someone makes a promise and then doesn’t deliver?  When this happens what can the other person do to make it up to you?

Why don’t you leave a comment below and let me know what you think?

Topics: trust, Sustainable Business, Business Strategies, honesty

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