I recently attended a networking event and ran into someone I had met a couple of years ago. In chatting, I learned he had started his own business. We exchanged business cards, and I told him I’d send him an e-mail when I returned to my office with some dates to meet for coffee, so I could learn more about his new venture. Later that day, I sent him some dates and times that worked for me so we could coordinate a meeting. We did this via e-mail. His final note to me once we had agreed on a time and place was, and I quote; “Thanks for the prompt follow up! It’s refreshing to run across a business professional who does what they said they were going to do.”
Earlier at that same event, I was speaking with a couple of people and one commented that she was trying to get a service at her new business location and was astounded at how many people didn’t return her call. I remember thinking, “Wow, I could not imagine not following up with someone who wanted a quote for my service.” Then, when I received the email response from the aforementioned connection, I began to wonder, “What’s happening to people?”
Are we all so overwhelmed that we no longer return calls or deliver on our commitments?
I opened up my web browser to put a couple of different phrases into Google. One article suggested we fail to keep our promises because we don’t think through a plan before making our promise or unforeseen circumstances happen that prevent us from following through. Other articles suggested that there is a general lack of accountability in companies today, and if we work in such a culture, it’s up to us to make our expectations known that we won’t tolerate behavior of this sort in the future. Hmm… then we’ll have to keep our commitments.
So I started asking others what they thought. Many people I spoke with said, “People are lazy!” Others said, “People are overwhelmed and don’t have time to do anything extra.” Still other people believe technology is to blame. We get so distracted by social media messages we can’t seem to disconnect and focus on what’s important in life. What do you think? What’s been your experience? Why do many of us over-promise and under-deliver? Please post your response here.