Deliver, Deliver, Deliver.
Underpromise and overdeliver. We've all heard this saying before. But what does it really mean, and how does it help us build connections, garner respect, and unlock bigger and better opportunities in our lives?
Let's first examine the exact opposite notion. What happens when you overpromise and underdeliver? When you promise something, you are setting expectations in the minds and hearts of the listener. You are telling them that come hell or high water, I will get this done, and you can leave this task with me. You are leveraging on the trust that's been built to deliver an outcome, and depending on whether or not you are successful, this can grow or diminish your relationship.
Personally, I struggled a lot with this concept. I grew up always wanting to deliver more value than I was capable of, because I had a fear of not being accepted if I was anything but extraordinary. Of course, I cannot deny that stating that I will achieve X, Y, Z, helped create the pressure and accountability I needed to work towards delivering over and beyond my capabilities, but more often than not, the outcome was less than satisfactory due to rushed timelines, mismatched expectations, or just a general inability to get it done the way it was requested.
What's worse is that whenever you make such public and grand statements, you often do not provide yourself any opportunity to ask for help. You are sending the message that you are confident that you can solve the problem - so, they'll leave you to do it all by yourself.
The biggest offenders for me were being late for pre-set obligations and answering yes without really understanding requests made of me - and subsequently forgetting about it or delivering subpar quality.
When you behave in such a manner, you are telling people that you should not be relied upon for any important, life or death endeavors. You are telling people that you cannot be relied on consistently to perform and deliver.
Everyone desires consistency in life, a sure thing. That's why YouTubers or bloggers with set publishing schedules gain subscribers and popularity; because their viewers know no matter what, at 11 AM EST on Sundays, they will always get a new piece of content to digest. They know that they can turn on the news, and every hour on the hour, they will learn what's new in their city.
Not convinced yet? Here's another story. This week, I had an interesting problem. My mouse started demonstrating a notorious manufacturing defect which caused it to randomly register left-clicks as double-clicks and caused me immense frustration while trying to do work on my computer. But, worse than the momentary frustrations of messing up my workflow and having to click again, I observed something interesting happening subconsciously - I would experience slight anxiety and hesitation whenever I needed to use my mouse.
I did not know what would happen when I clicked the button next. Would it click once or double click? Simply using my mouse became a ridiculously strenuous task than it ever been before. To take drastic measures, I ended up remapping my caps lock key to act as my primary mouse button while I shop for a new mouse.
It's the same in business! If your colleagues, boss, or customers don't know your output - the decision to utilize your talents becomes significantly harder; even if you tick all the right features and benefits. Reliability is important!
Imagine you are extremely hungry and had to choose between two restaurants on opposite sides of the town. You can't call them or check online for their operating hours.
2/5 times that you go to restaurant A, it's closed, and the food is mostly good, but sometimes it's really amazing.
5/5 times you go to B, it's open, but the food is always good.
Which restaurant would you choose to go to?
Be someone that is consistently delivering good value, than someone who sometimes delivers amazing results, but can't be relied upon. Deliver, deliver, deliver.
Steps to becoming a reliable person
- Whatever you think the time is needed to complete something, double it;
- Don't promise something you've never done before;
- Use your past to tell the future. If it took you 3 hours to get X task done, and you're asked to do it again, don't promise them 2.5 hours. If your time has improved due to practice, then it is a happy occurrence for everybody;
- Spend time to work on your deliverables every day, for a set amount of time.