In organizations, promises are at the heart of performance.

Regardless of your title, position, or pay grade, you are paid to design, make and manage valuable promises. The way you and your colleagues handle promises determines how well the organization performs and how well it satisfies its customers.

The bigger and more valuable the promises we can make (and keep), the more value we create for our organizations, and the more we, in turn, are valued. CEOs are generally paid more than their employees because they can make bigger and more valuable promises to the board of directors or shareholders. It’s the same for any professional.

To get into most promises in organizations, one person makes a request or an offer to another person, and the other person says Yes, accepting the request or offer. When your boss asks you to convene a cross-functional meeting to resolve a customer’s technical problem, and you say Yes, you’ve accepted her request, and you’ve made a promise.

Alternatively, if you go to your boss and offer to set up the cross-functional meeting and your boss says Yes, you also have a promise. A promise is like a closed electrical circuit. The request or offer without acceptance leaves the circuit open—there’s no energy flowing and no promise. Once the request or offer is accepted, the circuit closes, energy is flowing, and you have a promise. And if you have a track record of keeping your promises, the person at the other end of your promise will likely trust that they can count on you to keep this one as well.

Promises that are well-made and well-managed are what power your organization’s performance. Goals, strategies or projects might appear to be the driver of performance, but it’s the personal promises between human beings that bring those goals, strategies or projects to fruition. Your organization’s accountability and execution performance depend on the quality of the promises your people make and manage with each other.

Reach out to me and the team at Full Contact Institute to see how we can help you transform your organization’s accountability and execution.

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