Learning How to Under Commit and Over Deliver
Living A Life of Focus – Part 5
If you want others to think well of you and the service you provide, learn how to under commit, but wow them by over delivering. No one likes it when someone they’re doing business with or partnering with on a project, over commits and under delivers. The question is have you ever given someone the hope that you can meet certain expectations and when you delivered the results, they’re less than what was expected? I know I have and it’s not a good feeling hearing the disappointment that comes from the recipient. To combat this and to never again put myself in this situation, Pamela and I came up with this focus statement, “under commit and over deliver.”
The Thought or Concept:
In his book “Developing the Leader Within You 2.0, John Maxwell says, “always under-promise and over-deliver.” The worst thing a person can do is set expectations and have them go unmet. I like what the phrase “under promise” adds to understanding this focus statement. We all make promises, but do our promises promise more than we can deliver? You do this long enough no one will ever respect or trust you will do anything you say you’re going to do. Your family will stop counting on you. Your coworkers will stop depending on you. You clients will go elsewhere to find people they can trust.
The quickest way to erode your integrity is to say that you can do more than what you really can.
To ensure you reverse the effects of over committing, let’s discuss a few steps you can take to apply this focus statement to your life. Here are several questions that may help create the steps needed to practice and pull off under committing and over delivering.
- Is my timeline for accomplishing the task realistic and can I meet this timeline before the drop-dead due date?
This questions brings to my mind a previous focus statement, “A Deadline is A Deadline.” What this says is that you’ll need to better evaluate the tasks at hand prior to committing. You want to put some thoughts into this one with the end-game in mind; to wow your customer, coworker, or family member. You must put in the work, first.
- Do I have a firm understanding of what I’m being asked to do and the expectation of the one asking?
This question encompasses two important pieces needed to ensure under committing. First, get a complete understanding of the request presented. Secondly, make sure to obtain the requester’s desired expectations on what’s to be delivered. There’s no way to determine if you’ll over deliver or under deliver, for that matter, without knowing their expectations.
- What would I need to accomplish in order to finish before the deadline?
This is the most important question because it places ownership primarily in your hands. You and only you know whether or not you can deliver on or before the date set. So set a realistic date that gives you a little margin to deliver sooner than expected.
- What would have to be possible for me to exceed the request and the requester’s expectations?
This fourth question is one for adding value and going above the request. Not until you have completed what’s been asked of you can you try to provide something over and above. It does us no good to deliver over and above results if we fall short on the requested requirements.
Today is Friday!
Ervin “Magic” Johnson says it this way, “understand your customer and over-deliver.” In other words, form a relationship with your customers, co-workers, and family so that you can understand them and give more than what’s asked of you. If you want to be the difference maker, learn to under commit and over deliver.
Until next week, do me a favor, under commit and over deliver on the number of people you plan to share this content with. I certainly appreciate it.