Several years ago now, I learned a term within a business setting, taught by a consultant who was brought in to educate us on a bunch of different things. He was good, his message most interesting. I took several things away from it. One of them was one of the 'golden rules' in business, but you could easily argue in life and most certainly in parenting.
Under promise. Over deliver.
Succinct, powerful, logical and rational. And absolutely bang on.
Lately, and perhaps there is a correlation between the nuttiness of life these days, the speed at which we all seem to be moving, whether by choice or necessity, I have experienced a litany of people, situations, circumstances where people are NOT doing what they say they are going to do.
I personally have a three-strike rule. People get three chances to screw up in my book (weighed by the level of the screw up), before I start to write them off and spend less time, energy or anything else on them.
But when it comes to bigger, more official people in positions of power who are merely paying lip service, saying they will 'get back to you,' 'call you on this date', 'follow up with you tomorrow at 4 p.m.', etc., etc., and then turn around and DO NOT DO what they say they are going to do, I slowly become irate.
Why commit yourself to such specifics, if you likely have absolutely no intention of fulfilling it? Or if you know you aren't going to be able to fulfill the promise, for goodness sake let that person who is expecting the promise to be delivered -- KNOW ABOUT IT.
Have we become so ignorant as a society, do we lack empathy to such a degree that we need to behave like this?
We are always telling our kids, 'do what you say you are going to do'. If that is to clean your room, take out the garbage, whatever. Don't tell us what you think we want to hear, and then under-deliver. That is irritating.
For people who set their personal bars high (which I do), under promising and over-delivering can be a frightful and foreign concept. I have come to learn that is it more a lifeline and a reality check.
It makes far more sense to set a realistic bar, deliver on it, then incrementally lift that bar higher as you move forward.
No different in parenting. Just when you think your kids are not paying attention, they remember what you said in frustration last Saturday when you promised to buy ice cream or a toy or whatever -- when your offspring finally settled down or did their chores, etc.
There is nothing more aggravating than over promising and under delivering. It shows a blatant lack of respect, in my view for everyone involved. It seems to be sport these with people aided and assisted by technology -- hiding behind technology issues, voice mail collapses, dropped calls, and every other excuse in the book to defend themselves for not delivering.
Helping children set and achieve goals, set realistic expectations and achieve them is as important as any lesson we may teach our children in their lives. It certainly is not easy, especially we are are running around town not doing what we say we are going to do.