A man who had been quite successful in the manufacturing business decided to retire. He called in his son to tell him of his decision, saying, ‘Son, it’s all yours as of the first of next month.’ The son, while eager to take over the firm and exert his own brand of leadership, also realized what a big responsibility he was facing. ‘I’d be grateful for any words of advice you have to give me,’ he said to his father.
The father advised, ‘Well, I’ve made a success of this business because of two principles: reliability and wisdom. First, take reliability. If you promise goods by the tenth of the month, no matter what happens, you must deliver by the tenth. Your customers won’t understand any delay. They’ll see a delay as a failure. So, even if it costs you overtime, double time, golden time, you must deliver on your promise.’
The son mulled this over for a few moments and then asked, ‘And wisdom?’ The father shot back: ‘Wisdom is never making such a stupid promise in the first place.’
Weigh carefully your ability to backup your words with evidence, and your ability to deliver on your promises before you make them. A large part of your reputation is your ability to keep your word.