Effective performance conversations depend on people keeping their agreements and doing what they said they would do. Encourage people to respect the idea that keeping agreements matters.
Keeping agreements is the foundation for effective performance conversations. Every time we say Yes to a request, we have created an agreement with someone. It might be as simple as agreeing to make reservations for a lunch meeting or as complex as developing a production plan or installing a computer system. But in any case, we’re on the hook for doing something the minute we nod our head or mutter, “Yeah, okay.”
Those agreements matter. People count on us to do what we say, and if we don’t do it they’ll have a judgment about our reliability that won’t serve us well in the future. Similarly, we depend on others to do what they say they’ll do. If you’ve ever had to follow up on an undelivered shipment, or an unanswered question, or an unpaid invoice, you know agreements are important to the fabric of life.
We don’t trust people who don’t keep their agreements. And we lose credibility when we don’t keep ours. Even if people have a really good explanation for what happened, we’re still left with the consequences of their dropping the ball.
When you are working to keep a promise, any missed agreement is a potential for disaster. To make a timeline, you can’t afford to have people take their promises casually. A climate of accountability is essential for meeting deadlines and depends on having a positive regard for keeping agreements.
When agreements are broken, be zealous about getting to the bottom of what happened so you can learn what’s needed to avoid similar situations in the future. It’s another way to honor your promises and strengthen your credibility.