Mark’s Blog

Hi, I’m Mark McPherson. Every week for 52 weeks I’m posting a blog about of one of my 52 types of poorly behaved and difficult people. 52 blogs = 52 weeks = 52 types. Here’s my fourth in the series . Enjoy.

#31. The Commitment-Breaker. 

This week’s blog is about The Commitment-Breaker. In a nutshell, the Commitment-Breaker agrees to do something (and I might add, do it properly) but when it comes to the crunch, doesn’t do it. Or maybe half-does it.

This week’s blog is in the form of a video. It’s just me in my office and a DSLR camera. But I think it moves along at a pretty good pace. To watch the video, simply click the image. Further down the page, you’ll find a brief summary of what’s covered.

A summary of the video

  1. Let’s face it. We’ve all broken a commitment at some time in our life. Perhaps we said we’d do something and simply forgot. Perhaps we said we’d do something but circumstances changed and we couldn’t do it, or we decided we shouldn’t do it. But whatever the case, we’ve all been a commitment breaker somewhere along the line.
  2. However, the Commitment-Breaker we’re talking about here takes it to a new level. The Commitment-Breaker doesn’t share our concern about doing the right thing. They say they’ll do something, and hence make a commitment, but they don’t take the commitment seriously. They break commitments, don’t feel bad about it (although they might make out that they’re sorry) and will continue to break commitments in one form or another.
  3. There are two types of commitments. The first is those we impose upon our self. For example, let’s say we make a commitment to pick someone up at 6pm to go to the movies. We’ve imposed it upon our self although it was probably with some discussion with the potential passenger.
  4. The second is those that are imposed by others but nonetheless ones we have agreed to and therefore committed to carry out. For example, one of our colleagues or one of our staff might make a commitment to have a report on our desk by 9am the following day. Or our colleagues or staff might agree to be on time at a staff meeting. Or our teenage son or daughter might agree to tidy their room to a certain ‘level of tidiness’ and by a certain time.
  5. Let’s be clear. When people agree to do something. Or when people say they will do something. They’ve made a commitment. They’ve made a commitment to not just do it but to do it properly or at least to the best of their ability.
  6. When people fail to do what they have said they will do or agreed to do they have broken a commitment. And it should be treated seriously.
  7. So what do we do about these Commitment-Breakers?
  8. I guess there’ll be no surprises when I tell you the answer is: lots of things. But let’s just start with three things we really need to do to start the ball rolling. These three things are:
    • Be very clear about our standards. They need to be clear, understood or marketed or whatever term you like, understood and role-modelled.
    • Be very clear to people when they make a commitment, without being condescending, exactly what they are committing to. Sometimes it’s a simple as stating the commitment to the person making the commitment by saying something like: “Thanks John. You’ll have that report on my desk by 9am tomorrow. That’s terrific.”
    • Be very clear (to yourself and to others) what the potential repercussions or penalties are for breaking the commitment. And yes, it goes without saying, that the repercussions or penalties should be fair and relevant.

If you want to have a chat about this, please book yourself in using my online appointment system. I’ll call you on the day and time you choose, and on the phone number you provide.

All the very best, Mark.

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