The "Over-Promise & Under-Deliver" Trap
Description: In this episode, Melissa and Maribeth (from ADD Professionals) offer ways to avoid the tendency to over-promise.
Today we are going to talk about the ADDer's tendency to over-promise and under-deliver.
We live in a competitive world and it is easy to promise anything with words just to get a chance at the game. However, if we don’t deliver on our promise it can be devastating to our reputation and cause great losses over the long haul.
For example, if I am an architect and someone asked me to design a commercial office development, I might want to get it done in 2 months. I might think it can be done in 2 months. So, I promise it in 2 months. Then when reality hits, and I try to work it in with everything else, I end up being late and doing a poor job. I over-promised and under-delivered!
People who over promise and under deliver are often thought of as lazy, self-indulgent and irresponsible, when the opposite may be just as true.
We may get bored after the exciting “promise” has passed. Then we may begin to fear failure and avoid or procrastinate the now boring task, until it is too late. We may become distracted by more urgent or fun tasks, telling ourselves that we will do it right after we do this other thing. This results in last minute urgency and a poor job, thus self-fulfilling that prophecy of failure – and round and round we go -ugh
Others may begin to resent us and bail us out, thus giving us a feeling of incompetence or the feeling that we will always need to be rescued. Neither one of these is good!
Finally, because of the poor planning and bad impressions, we end up spending more time putting out fires, than we would have if we would just learn how not to over-promise and under-deliver.
So here are some tips that will help you to overcome this pitfall and create a stellar reputation!
Pause before you make the promise. Take some time to visualize all of the steps between start and finish.
Make a list of those steps and put them on a schedule so you will not forget when other things begin to distract you
Don't give in to self-doubt. When self-doubt starts to creep in, remember, you have the ability to do this stuff. The challenge is just creating the motivation to start and continue to the finish line.
Realize that you will have to self-generate this motivation. It is much easier to ride a bike uphill when a big angry do is barking at you! What works for you? Use all of the tips on preventing procrastination to keep you motivated. Check those out on our podcast on procrastination.
Avoid the negative loop. We have a hard time staying motivated, so we get down on ourselves and then it is even harder to stay motivated. A positive attitude really helps hear. Remember – what you focus on grows!!
Remember that the last 10% is always the hardest, but it separates the winners from the losers. Save some steam for that last brilliant push!
Add in some margin time for errors. Remember, we are human and stuff happens. The successful people allow for this and, so, come to the finish line looking like it was easy. Inside, they know it wasn’t, but they allowed extra time to cover their setbacks.
Pause one more time. Finally, after you have done all of this – and before you make that promise – PAUSE one more time, to make sure that you have thought of everything and that you can absolutely keep the promise you are making. It is infinitely better to UNDER promise and OVER deliver!
So, as an architect, I will pause and add a margin of safety on my due date. Then I will have delivered on time and done a great job! I will have UNDER-promised and OVER-delivered. Now that’s what great reputations are built on!