(Messages written on the board)
Public art installation on 116th Street, NYC
Read Time: 1 Minute, 30 Seconds, Do Time: Longer

Before I die I want to visit a third world country
Before I die I want to see the President
Before I die I want to open an AIDS clinic
Before I die I want to make people happy

…So many promises

Our promises to others and ourselves run the gamut from mundane to consequential. They shape us as individuals – promises define our values and guide how we make decisions.

The content of our promises and ability to deliver on what we say shapes our reputations. Family, friends and colleagues form impressions and set their expectations based on what we have promised and how we choose to deliver.



Making a promise is pretty easy.
External forces or personal goals often direct us to the intersection of current conditions and future opportunity-the place where promises are born. When we get there we pause, consider our options and decide on a direction-promise made.



Now the hard part.
Making a promise is a clear and deliberate act connecting choice and outcome. Delivering on that promise often presents challenges. Time constraints, prior commitments, needing to rely on others and surprises all get in the way and make the path to promise delivery more complicated.

Sadly, the promises we make to ourselves are the ones that most often fall prey to these conditions.

Getting promises out of our heads and actively organizing our actions improves our promise delivery success rate.

Here are 5 steps to help

Write it down
On paper. Sometimes the simplest way to ensure delivery on a promise is to see it on paper. Write it down and leave it in a place you see every day

Plan the Action
Create a list. What has to happen in order for the promise to be delivered. Prioritize the list

Establish a timeline
Take a stand. Put completion dates next to each item on the list of activities. Be reasonable but not overly generous. Much of success lies in creating and feeding off of momentum. Keep the action moving forward

Check in often
Am I doing what I said I would?
In the timeframe I promised?
If not, what is getting in the way?

Celebrate the success
Every time.


Expand the exercise above to the concentric circles
that make up your world


What was the last promise I made to …
What actions are needed to deliver on what I said?
Would I make that promise again?

For Your Team

Once you have done this exercise for yourself, expand it to your team. Ask them to follow the 5 steps above substituting a business promise for a personal promise.

With this exploration you will learn about the motivators that fire up your team. Having this insight allows for planning projects and workflow more effectively. What is most important is learning and acting on what motivates individual team members.
Positive motivation keeps employees productive and happy.

Why Promises Matter

Making and keeping promises creates ownership.
We alone own the decision and we own the outcome.

Active ownership builds personal pride and confidence,
creates trust in relationships and momentum toward goals.


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Until next month…