May 11, 2012

Professional Development

Keep Your Word

By: Roger Custer

Your reputation is very important as you climb the ladder in any industry. It is even more important in Washington, DC and the liberty movement since we know each other well and word travels quickly. One way to uphold a great reputation is to keep your word. Always do what you say, follow through on promises, and do more than expected.

Keep your word 100% of the time. If you say you are going to do something, make sure you do it. This could be as small as replying to someone’s email, or as large as quitting smoking or resolving to be on time. Email is one place where it is easy to say something and not do it. Always be careful about how you word your email when it comes to offering something. For example, if you aren’t sure if you can make an event, don’t say you “will” be there, but you will “try to” be there. If you can help with a project, say you “will” help with the project, not that you “might.”

When you schedule a meeting with someone, be sure to 1) be there early, or 2) change it more than 24 hours before if something else comes up. It is very frustrating when people cancel a lunch meeting an hour or two before, unless there is a real emergency or a sudden illness. If you anticipate too much work, decline the lunch meeting in the first place.

Recently, someone invited me to lunch and we scheduled it 2 weeks in advance. The day of the meeting, the person cancelled two hours before and we re-scheduled a week later. The person also cancelled the postponed meeting that day, two hours before the reservation. I decided not to re-schedule fearing a third postponement. Don’t be that person who disrespects the other person’s time by scheduling and cancelling without sufficient notice. Keep your word.

Go above and beyond what you promise. Definitely keep your word and deliver what you promise, but consider going above and beyond. For example, you could email a colleague and say you will help with a research project. Find a way not only to help with one aspect, but to help the whole project succeed. It could be asking your friend to also help, or maybe posting it to your social media sites to get more readers.

What do you want your reputation to be? What do you want people saying about you when you’re not there? Think about those questions and make a list of actions you can take today (and in the long term) to arrive at that reputation. Keeping your word is a great place to start.

Roger Custer is Executive Director of America’s Future Foundation