“People forget how fast you did a job – but they remember how well you did it.”
– Howard W. Newton
It was early in my career and late on a Friday night. All of my friends were out on the town and waiting for me. I had a report due that day and was working diligently to get it completed. I knew my Sunday afternoon was open, so I sent an email to my boss: “I will get you the report over the weekend.” I quickly left to go have fun with my friends.
When Sunday afternoon rolled around, I finished the report. At that moment, I should have promptly sent the document. Not to date myself too much, but internet connectivity back then required a dial-up modem – slow and painful. So, I thought to myself, “I’ll just send this when I get into the office Monday morning… What’s the harm, Sunday night or Monday morning, my boss probably won’t even read this until late in the day on Monday”.
As usual, I was in the office early and I sent the report. I didn’t even give it a second thought; just another task completed on my to-do list. A few minutes later, I received a rather terse email from my boss. In capital letters and red font: “Please help me understand why you said you’d send the report over the weekend, and why I am receiving this now?” I was confused and frustrated… I responded, “Why is this such a big deal?”.
His reply created one of the most poignant moments in my career. His email read, “If you’re comfortable breaking your promise to me, and I’m your boss, I can’t imagine how many promises you are breaking to our customers!” Wow – and he was right. You can’t be great at the big things if you’re not diligent about the little things. I learned that managing expectations are as important as the work being performed.
We are in the relationship business; keeping promises and managing expectations is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy relationship. So, do what you say you are going to do and take this lesson to heart.
Let’s go be great!