How often has someone said to you “I’ll get back to you” and didn’t, or said “I can do that for you” and didn’t, or after meeting you for the first time, said “we should get together”, but never do?
It amazes me just how difficult it has become to follow through on the things we say we’re going to do. It seems today too many people and businesses for that matter have forgotten this simple concept. Let’s be honest my industry, the finance industry at times has been the worst culprit of not following through on its promises and responsibilities.
From an individual standpoint we live in an environment where not following through is treated as “no big deal”. It’s not that our intentions are necessarily bad but rather we are quick to say yes to something without any thought of the potential consequences. Recently, it became apparent to me just how rampant not following through has become.
I am extremely fortunate that I am able to help coach both my boys’ rep hockey teams. Recently, my eldest boy Jake (in the photo above, that’s the back of his head on the left) and his hockey team qualified for the International Silver Stick tournament; a very big tournament for minor hockey. The winning team actually gets their name put on a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame for one year.
Prior to the tournament many of the boys got the Whitby Wildcat logo shaved onto the back of their heads. Some of the boys thought the coaches should also get it done; this was initially met with the response of “Not a chance”.
The team got off to a slow start losing their first two games, but they didn’t give up and won their next two thereby qualifying for the semifinals. In order to give the boys a little extra motivation the coaches made a commitment that should the boys win the tournament we (coaches) would get the logo shaved onto the back of our heads. The kids loved this idea! In truth, I think some of the parents were even more excited about this than the kids.
As you can see from the picture above (yes that is the back of my head on the right) the boys won the tournament! What an incredible experience it was for everyone as per this recent Metroland article.
What I found amazing was the seemingly overwhelming sense of surprise and even shock when the coaching staff actually went through on their promise. What kind of an example would that have been if we hadn’t? Following through on what you say you are going to do is the basis of integrity.
In both our personal and professional lives we need to change this growing acceptance of not following through.
We need to be reminded (as well as teach our children) that if you’re known as someone who doesn’t meet promises and expectations, you will face consequences. Rather we should all strive to be someone of our word. This is true whether it is a “small or big thing”. After all, if you fail at the “little stuff,” no one will trust you with the “big stuff.”
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