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Deliver What You Promised


Ever get those moments when you realise what you bought was in fact not what you got?

We can all remember an occasion such as this. The build -up of excitement of a new purchase following months of research, talking to friends and family, business associates, peers and work colleagues (depending on your purchase).

You spend hours paying attention to the tiniest of details because you want your purchase to be exactly how you imagined it in your mind. The build- up of expectation and anticipation is even greater if you add on top a long lead time before your ‘prize purchase’ is delivered (whether it be a service or a product).

I was reminded recently of how important it is to deliver on my promises when a Client described their utter disappointment when they realised all was not what it appeared to be when sold a particular service.

I am not one for discrediting suppliers and as a business owner l would be absolutely mortified if someone ever were to try to name and shame me.! (So don’t make false promises!)

In the spirit of professionalism and integrity I shall continue. It doesn’t do what it says on the box? Is exactly right. You hold several meetings, you define the scope of the services and the specification of a product, you agree terms, delivery dates, method of implementation and installation, payment terms, then arrange follow up and support once the project is completed. I am generalising here and realise that products and services can vary from a simple plug n play to multi national complex service delivery across a multitude of sites and locations with several stakeholder expectations to manage as part of the process add on top a few layers of management, a little bureaucracy and a pinch of politics and there you have it the reason for failing to deliver.

The simplicity or complexity of a product or service delivery does not plicate the raw emotion a Client feels when the expectation has been set and not met. Of course they are disappointed because they did not get what it said on the box.

A year on, and I have still not managed to work out how I use a pair of virtual goggles with my mobile! I am yet to experience the thrill of jumping out of my skin with fear as 3D monsters leap out of the mobile screen, or feel like I am falling for miles off a cliff only to come to an abrupt thud on the floor from falling the short distance off the sofa!

Yes I am disappointed, my expectation has not been fulfilled and therefore a brand new pair of virtual goggles sit gathering dust…waiting to prove that in fact I may need to read the instructions again and demonstrate a little patience to reap the rewards.

How do you navigate through this sea of emotions?, how do you limit the reputational damage caused because we sold an idea, a dream, we made a promise to give wholehearted and yet came up short? How can you recover once the damage has been done?

It’s not easy, but it is possible. The answer is simple…

Deliver what you promised.

Make sure you deliver more than what is says on the box.

Do not over promise!

Communicate and consistent engagment with your Clients

Always ensure that your peers and key members of your team and internal stakeholders are aligned with your promises. If you go all maverick by yourself no-one (as much as they love you) will have your back, and that’s because they simply did not know.

In the 21st Century knowledge is not power (yes it’s clever to know a whole load of ‘stuff’;), but guess what? knowledge is for sharing with your teams so that you all become smarter and better at delivering what it says on the box.


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