Keeping Your Word

Several months ago, a former executive at our company made a commitment to a third-party via email. It is obvious that he didn’t research the cost of his promise, nor did he get anyone else’s approval. I was not aware of the obligation until the other party brought it to our attention. When I learned that the commitment was north of six figures, I gasped.

iStock_000000381585Small.jpg

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/P_Wei

Several rationalizations immediately popped into my head:

  • The executive is no longer at the company.
  • He obviously didn’t count the cost.
  • He wasn’t authorized to make this commitment.
  • This project is already under water.
  • This amount is not in our budget.
  • I wasn’t even aware of the commitment.
  • Our CFO wasn’t aware of the commitment.

However, after a few moments, I remembered that our first core value at Thomas Nelson is “Honoring God.” We amplify this by saying that “We honor God in everything we do.” We then go on to describe the behaviors that express this value. The fourth item on the list is this:

We honor our commitments, even when it is difficult, expensive, or inconvenient.”

That brought everything into clear focus. This was initially motivated by Psalm 15:1,4:

LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? … He who swears to his own hurt and does not change.

Simply put, this means that our word is sacred. I don’t think it is claiming too much to say that this premise is the foundation of Western society. Without it, our society begins to fall apart.

When I was growing up a promise and a hand-shake were all you needed. Contracts were largely foreign and unnecessary. In fact, to insist on one would have been an insult. Why? Because a man’s word was his bond. No one was willing to risk their social capital or relational equity by breaking their word.

My, how times have changed.

Twice in the last month I have had people blatantly dishonor their own word. Both were under contract. Their obligations were explicit. There was no ambiguity.

This is tragic—especially for them.

Keeping your word is the essence of integrity. As Stephen Covey points out, “honesty is making your words conform to reality. Integrity is making reality conform to your words.” It is essential to leadership. Without it, you cannot be an effective leader.

Why?

  1. Integrity is required for trust. If people can’t trust your word, they won’t trust you.
  2. Trust is necessary for influence. People choose those they let influence them, and this is based largely on trust.
  3. Influence is essential for impact. You can’t make the impact you want to make unless you can influence others and shift their behavior.

Yes, keeping your word is sometimes difficult, expensive, and inconvenient. But the cost of not doing so is even more expensive. It will ultimately cost you your leadership.

Questions: Have you had a recent situation someone did not honor their word? What impact did it have on you?
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to a self-hosted WordPress blog? It’s easier than you think! Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it, step-by-step. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Watch my free screencast

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Ayodeji Abodunde

    I am in absolute agreement. I had to make a business decision recently which hurt me a little. I had given a particular figure for a transaction, however I discovered later there had been slight changes unknown to me. In the particular context it would have seemed dishonest if i made changes, so i let it go. This disturbed me a little for about two days but after a couple of weeks I am excited I made the choice. I can easily approach the person in future if the need arises and not have to worry about my reputation!

  • http://www.simonhay.com/ Simon Hay

    I've had people I care about say one thing and then act differently. In business I've been promised one thing and then being let down. I've been left to shoulder the responsibility many times in both situations. I'm cautious and not so quick to trust now. I don't immediately believe what people tell me now. I wait before I trust anyone fully. One benefit of this is that my instincts seem to be more fine tuned. I'm more observant.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I think this is natural. We are either steadily building trust by keeping our word or destroying trust by not keeping it.

    • Ani

      Yep, same here. There was a time I could count the people on one hand I could trust. And before I trusted them it took time because they had to prove it first. But over the years my trust is restored because of a few people in my life proved to be trustworthy. But I also want to say that everytime I found out people promised one thing and let me down, I remembered there is only one totally trustworthy and that is God. He is my stable Rock.

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    Living by integrity is just the right thing to do. There is usually a clear path of right vs wrong. Sad that some choose the path of least resistance when it comes to doing what is right. As the world becomes more interconnected and as social media creates more layers of transparency, I hope that people will be forced to live and work with a greater regard for integrity. I think it’s happening. Failure to do so will show up faster and be more costly than ever to brand equity, person and professional.

    Side note… I am a man of my word but there have been rare occasions when I dropped the ball. IF that happens I don't hide from it. I address it immediately and I try my best to make it right. Living in integrity doesn't mean you are perfect or without the chance of failing, it means you strive to do what is right… doing your very best to make clear and sound decisions…. but if you fail… you own up to it, you take action to fix it and you try not to repeat it.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree about those occasions when I have dropped the ball. I have been grateful when people called me on it, even though it might have been painful—or expensive—for me.

  • Pingback: uberVU - social comments()

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    As far as business dealings are concerned, I keep my commitment. When I sign a contract, I feel that I have the obligation to follow through and meet the expectations of that contract. In fact, I use my signed teaching contract to deflect my students' complaints about the rules that I insist they keep–I tell them I signed a contract and get paid for enforcing the rules.

    Sometimes I do have a problem with speaking without thinking things through. It's not so much a problem now as it was when our children were young. Sometimes I had to back-track on "promises" I made because circumstances changed. Of course that frustrated my kids. My husband had the solution–just say "The Lord willing, we'll…" There were times I should have listened to him better.
    My recent post #34 THE DOING OF BELIEVING: FAITH (2)

  • Juan

    Mike – Certainly this is a tough one – To keep our Word! Our commitment. This is true in simply things like customer service situations. I am sure if somebody would keep a record of business lost due to no meeting our commitments I am sure the figure should be in Billions.
    Typical examples:- Leave me a message and I will call you back
    – Send me an email and I will quickly reply/answer your concern
    – When the car is ready (at the shop) we will call you
    – The goods we will be shipped or delivered by such date.
    – I will meet you at such time? – etc, etc
    I know this goes beyond just typical situations; As you mentioned in the case of business contract (legal), there is a saying when we take our customer to court the business is gone.
    I think this is the reason we look at our business, political, religious leaders as models to follow. Integrity is everything.

  • http://katdish.blogspot.com katdish

    Doing what is right is seldom what is expedient or convenient. Thank you for your leadership and your example.
    My recent post Reading Backwards

  • Valarie

    I love this post. As simple as it sounds, it's always a great reminder to follow through with your committments. When I was in high school my Dad told me, "Integrity is doing things the same way, whether people are watching you or not." I love that mental image.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I like that image, too. I also like the etymology of the word Integrity coming from the same word as integrated. When our private lives and our public lives are one and the same—integrated—we have integrity.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/johnmrowley johnmrowley

    Like you Michael I have been disappointed by people who did not honor their word. A year ago I was brought into a medical business, they wanted to use my platform to promote their business. I wanted ownership which they verbally committed to. I also wanted to reorganize the business so it operated with integrity, which they also agreed to.

    Because they didn't honor their word with anything, in the natural this had a very negative impact on my families financial situation but even as this was happening I honored my word even though they didn't. Once they got all they thought they could out of me they asked for my key to the building back as kicked me out, no shares, they didn't fairly compensate me for all my time traveling around,etc. I don't know the impact this will have on them but it sounds like they are going out of business. For me, my God will meet all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. This was a lesson in forgiveness for me. The Lord says we are to forgive and He is teaching me this lesson at a very personal level right now.

    Honoring your word may look like the wrong thing to do sometimes but regardless of cost it is imperative! God wants us to walk upright and with integrity.
    My recent post The Fastest Way to Succeed!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/johnmrowley johnmrowley

    Like you Michael I have been disappointed by people who did not honor their word. A year ago I was brought into a medical business, they wanted to use my platform to promote their business. I wanted ownership which they verbally committed to. I also wanted to reorganize the business so it operated with integrity, which they also agreed to.

    Because they didn't honor their word with anything, in the natural this had a very negative impact on my families financial situation but even as this was happening I honored my word even though they didn't. Once they got all they thought they could out of me they asked for my key to the building back as kicked me out, no shares, they didn't fairly compensate me for all my time traveling around,etc. I don't know the impact this will have on them but it sounds like they are going out of business. For me, my God will meet all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. This was a lesson in forgiveness for me. The Lord says we are to forgive and He is teaching me this lesson at a very personal level right now.

    Honoring your word may look like the wrong thing to do sometimes but regardless of cost it is imperative! God wants us to walk upright and with integrity.
    My recent post The Fastest Way to Succeed!

  • http://twitter.com/emuelle1 @emuelle1

    I made a VERY stupid decision to "loan" somebody $2000. This person was trying to get a house refinance, and was supposedly going to get the money right back to me after cashing out some equity.

    That never happened. It's been more than 4 years. Wish I'd been listening to Dave Ramsey back then.
    My recent post Congrats to Brad Isaac! 80% of Success is Just Showing Up

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I made that kind of decision early in my career. After being burned—and feeling butter—Gail and I purposed that we would never loan money, only give. A few times, people have asked for loans. In those situations, we either give it as a gift or say “no.”

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/PaulSteinbrueck PaulSteinbrueck

    I've definitely noticed a decline in the value of keeping your word these days. Most of the time it's not a matter of outright dishonesty, but it seems like people are quick to rationalize breaking their word when circumstances change.

    My company has had clients who backed out of contracts because said they couldn't afford to pay for services we already provided to them. At church we have people who commit to a volunteer role & then don't show up when something else comes up they deem is more important.

    Unfortunately, I think breaking your word has been made all the more acceptable during this financial downturn by the promotion of bankruptcy, debt consolidation services, and financial bailouts. The message has been, "You intended to keep your word, but your the victim of changing circumstances, so it's ok not to keep your commitment. In fact because you're the victim, someone else needs to pay."
    My recent post Who was Saint Patrick?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      That’s why I love the verse from Psalm 115. It is unconditional. Circumstances are irrelevant.

      Having said that, I don’t think it is wrong to ask to be released from a commitment you find difficult to keep. However, you have to do it with the intent that you will keep your word if they say no.

      • http://www.practical-discipleship.com George

        Great post. For what it's worth, it's Psalm 15 not 115. The whole Psalm has some great guidelines. Just hoping to avoid some confusion.
        My recent post Mar 15, Practical Discipleship by Confession in Prayer

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

          Oops. Thanks for the catch. I have corrected it.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/success2you John Richardson

    Talk about hitting home with a timely post. I was at a conference yesterday, where I had run into an old friend that I hadn't seen in a while. She reminded me that I had promised to send her an autographed copy of my book a few months ago. My mind raced back… I had set a copy aside and put it on my desk to send to her, but in the process of moving, it had been forgotten.

    With our fast paced world and multiple communication sources, it's hard to remember all the commitments we make. Especially the off the cuff ones.

    The good news is there is a new book on the way to my friend with a gift note attached. I changed the price on Amazon to $12.34 so in the future it will be as easy as 1,2,3,4 to remember! :-)
    My recent post Twitter: Finding Amazing People to Follow

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/theperkinsblog Michael

    I recently had someone tell me a reason for something and I later found out in a meeting with a large group that was not the case at all. I would have been okay with the reasoning, but I felt like I deserved the truth.

    I felt let down.
    My recent post Are You Cancer Or An Antibiotic?

  • N. Castillo

    Great post Mike. My Dad raise me that way, but boy you have not idea how easy it's nowadays for people to agree to do something and not keeping up with it. Besides my day time job I also work at a dealership at nights, and you will not believe how people will stood you up. They said will be there at certain hour, never show or call. Use car sales people may have earn the treat but not every one treats customers the same way. To me is like the Bible says, "Let your Yes be a Yes and your No be a No". Thanks Mike,

  • Scoti Domeij

    This post will be posted in my daily blessings book to remind me that God is my provider, because I needed this encouragement today. My home business is caring for the disabled and my precious person passed into God's arms. Over a month ago, someone asked me to care for their family member, which I agreed to do, putting off applying at other agencies. The day before they were to move in, I found out the person was placed elsewhere. Needless to say, I turned in applications elsewhere ASAP. Over a month ago, I agreed to do respite starting today, which would take care of my house payment next month. Yesterday, the person also reneged. So I here I sit rehearsing truth, “People are not the source of my salvation, Jehovah-Jireh is. God will provide.” God offers the most security we can find in this world. I just wish my body would get on board with the truth. Smile.
    My recent post What Happens When a Life Storm Deletes Your To-Do List?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

      Scoti, I'm praying that God will work your circumstances to your good. This world can be scary, can't it? My family has been where you are at and we can testify that God is faithful. Keep on holding on to Him.
      My recent post #34 THE DOING OF BELIEVING: FAITH (2)

  • Dale Schaeffer

    I'm reminded of the quote from Bernard Montgomery "Leadership is the capacity and courage to rally men and women to a common purpose and the CHARACTER which inspires CONFIDENCE."

    It is not just our capacity or courageous leadership that causes people to follow us, but our character that enables them to trust us.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Ben

    I have been told by some friends that they have had to make good on commitments such as contracts and etc., however those same people let down in integrity when it comes to SMALL things like paying your bills on time. I think Thomas Nelson has had a few customers like that and so have I.
    Integrity stretches across all things not just the ones you or I choose to acknowledge. I have failed at this at times and have been self righteous about the bill paying stuff. We all have to be careful not to pick and choose the areas we will practice integrity in and the areas we will not. God help me to choose all areas!

  • http://forrest-long.blogspot.com Forrest Long

    What a great post! How we need to be reminded of these facts, especially in positions of Christian leadership. As leaders we need honesty and integrity. I realize in pastoral leadership that because of the actions of some its integrity has fallen into disrepute. All the more reason to uphold biblical values and demonstrate in practical ways that following Christ does make a difference.
    My recent post St Basil the Great on Prayer (2)

  • http://hookembookem.blogspot.com/ Mark Young

    Great post, Mike. Honor and integrity are what distinguishes our character. It is the fabric by which strong relationships are founded upon. Years ago, a business representative made a promise to me that was never carried out. It took several years for me to realize this person would never carry out their promise. I moved on. But this broken promise changed forever how I viewed that person and the company they represented. It is important to keep our word. It is what gives our reputations value. I’m challenged by your post to be careful as to what promises I make and—once committed—to carry through on them. Thanks.
    My recent post Brandilyn Collins

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/aboynamedtracy aboynamedtracy

    This is something that has really bothered me lately. I'll admit that my experiences with this have nowhere been in the range of six figures. I do think, however, that this all starts on a smaller scale.

    Some guys at church, including myself, like to get together to play basketball, flag football, or softball depending on the season. Inevitably we ask around and get commitments from eight or nine guys. They say they will definitely be there. Out of the eight definites, maybe three show up. It drives me crazy. Obviously there is no money involved, but there are those of us that show up who expect there will be enough to play. We went through all the trouble of stretching and putting on all our braces and wraps and take time away from our families and some didn't have the integrity to stick to their commitment. Every time this happens I think of Jesus words, "Let your yes be yes and no, no." If these people had no intention of participating, I would have rather had a "no" rather than a "yes" and then a no-show.

    Why does our culture have such a hard time keeping commitments, no matter how big or small?
    My recent post Become a Fan of A Fit Boy Named Tracy on Facebook

    • DWilliams

      I organize a social group. When someone has put their name on the list but does not show, I call them to ask if they are okay with a tone of concern that says only a family emergency would make them break their word. 

  • http://nichollsleadershipinstitute.com Kathy Nicholls

    What a timely message in today's world. I have been impacted by people not keeping their word. It was a blow as it was in a company where I believed integrity was our business model. When leadership changes, that isn't always the case unfortunately. Still, in the end, it's been okay as God blesses no matter what. That has led me to opportunities that I didn't know would exist and I am thankful. I also think that we are all human and one important key is that if you do drop the ball, as others have said, you own it, apologize, and move on, striving to do it right the next time. In the world, our integrity is what builds and keeps relationships. Without it, I don't see much chance of real true success.
    My recent post People Don’t Care How Much You Know

  • http://www.thekelsogroup.com Kris Kelso

    Mike –

    It's refreshing to see a senior business leader putting integrity above the almighty dollar. Thank you.

    You are correct that western society was built on trust, and sadly, much of the complexity in our lives is the result of that trust being broken. I outlined this last week in an article I wrote about "The Trust Factor" as a fundamental component of good project management / leadership: http://blog.thekelsogroup.com/index.php/project-m

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/akersmagic Akers

    Good post. I noticed that whenever I kept my word or atleast asked to be released out of it when I know I cannot make it, things have worked for me in life smoothly. The moment my integrity begins to slip things have also slipped in life too. Now I strongly believe that I need to become conscious of giving my word. Eeks, sometimes I do it so unconsciously!____Akila

  • http://www.keynoteconnection.org Renae

    As I was reading this I was reminded of the integrity of Keynote's Executive Director, Chris Zaugg. Years ago when he was the director of one our performing groups I was in, we had a tour all but fall apart. One of the concerts (a three day drive from our base) remaining responded to our request to cancel by reminding Chris that we signed a contract and said we would come. So, we made good on that and traveled the distance to do the show. We didn't come close to covering costs on that tour, but the obvious influence of integrity displayed still affects decisions made in our ministry! I'm thankful to serve on the same team as a man who makes the difficult choices.
    My recent post Refusing to Settle for Mediocrity

  • http://www.facebook.com/FourFecta Mitch Ebie

    You are absolutely right! Words are powerful. God used words to create the world. We may not be creating physical worlds with the things we say, but the things we say do create a world of thought that will either reflect negatively or positively on us.
    My recent post There r basically 2 kinds of Christians, those who strive 4 unity & those that strive 4 primitivism (New Testament way). Unity builds relationships but compromises doctrine. Primitivism focuses first on doing it the NT way, but allows relationships to break down. Which r u? Is it more important to do it "right" or do it together as one?

  • William

    I've found that I sometimes lack grace and mercy when an organization tries not to keep a commitment, especially when dealing with a big organization via an hourly waged worker on the phone. It's one thing to try and hold someone to a commitment, it's quite another to do the same with a large organization.

    Granted, we wish frontline communicators all had the needed training to handle such situation but the unfortunate reality is that most do not. The often added disconnect between corporate "promise makers" and those who try to carry out that promise only adds to the problem.

    I don't mind as much putting an individual on the hot seat who tries to back out of a commitment only because it becomes difficult or inconvenient, but doing the same to an organization can be much more difficult because of the many factors. A technician may tell you one thing and then the company will not back it up. Or, upper management makes an offer that technicians can't carry out.

    Determining when it is Christ-like to "push" and when it is more in keeping with scripture to learn a lesson, offer mercy, or just quietly accept it, is difficult.

  • Pingback: Commitment Pain « Tools For Campus()

  • http://building-his-body.blogspot.com/ Anne Lang Bundy

    What an amazing testimony. The Lord will no doubt bless your commitment to show honor. I pray with these words that He does so with a visible connection. Thanks for sharing, Mike.
    My recent post Forgotten Not, Part II

  • Bianca

    SOOOO GOOD! My generation (Generation Y) is the biggest problem with this!!!!! It's sooo hard to get people to commit and then when they do, whether it be church, work, social gatherings, etc, they flake or go back on their word. GRRRRR!

  • Tara Rodden Robinson

    Hi Michael,

    I ran into the issue of promises recently in a nonprofit for which I volunteered.

    Someone who had a highly visible, organization-wide role–one that is critical to the charge of the committee (for which I am chair)–stopping coming through. After a long and difficult conversation, it became clear that in this person's mind, there was no broken promise–because there had never been a promise. In effect, because of the fact that it was volunteer work, that made it totally optional in this person's view. The situation made me much more cognizant of thinking through, aloud, what the expectations are when a commitment is made, particularly in this organization.

    The unforeseen consequences for the party in this was that it gave me a clear view of what to expect from the business this person owns. Needless to say, trust was lost and their reputation was badly damaged.

    I am reminded of the parable of the talents–to be faithful in the small things is every bit as important as the big things.

    Grace and peace to you,
    Tara
    My recent post An invitation to a conversation about the spiritual side of productivity

  • http://speckleofdirt.blogspot.com Speckle

    We teach children about keeping their word, by the way we keep our word to them. This is a good reminder to really be thoughtful about what we say. Thanks!
    My recent post Epiphany #1

  • Pingback: links of the week (3.19.10 edition) « blindly pursuing life()

  • http://www.thanhdlu.com Thanh

    Although I am a fan of this blog, I don't understand the logistics and obligation behind the consideration to honor a commitment made by a third party. The status of "former" does not give that person authority. I am assuming that the former executive does not represent the company anymore at any capacity. Although I am a student of integrity and building character, sometimes what we try to do good has negative effects, when it feeds the indulgence of an individual. Therefore it is my belief that honoring a commitment made by a former executive has (negative) repercussions that affect the rest of the company (staff, clients, employees), ie. irresponsible expenses & loss in revenue. Why should the rest of the company (staff, clients, employees) have to pay for the indulgence of the company's decision to honor a commitment made by a former executive that no longer has the company's best interest at the heart of the decision making?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I think there maybe a misunderstanding here. We are not talking about honoring the former employee's commitments AFTER they left the company. We are talking about honoring the employee's commitments WHILE an employee of the company. If we don't do that, how can anyone have confidence in talking with any current employee. After all, they could be gone next week.

      Thanks.

  • http://www.thanhdlu.com Thanh

    Although I am a fan of this blog, I don't understand the logistics and obligation behind the consideration to honor a commitment made by a third party. The status of "former" does not give that person authority. I am assuming that the former executive does not represent the company anymore at any capacity. Although I am a student of integrity and building character, sometimes what we try to do good has negative effects, when it feeds the indulgence of an individual. Therefore it is my belief that honoring a commitment made by a former executive has (negative) repercussions that affect the rest of the company (staff, clients, employees), ie. irresponsible expenses & loss in revenue. Why should the rest of the company (staff, clients, employees) have to pay for the indulgence of the company's decision to honor a commitment made by a former executive that no longer has the company's best interest at the heart of the decision making?

    It's bad enough that a former executive assumes authority on behalf of people he no longer represents, but for the company to "honor" that "commitment," the company is protecting the wrong side.

    Ken Blanchard had said leadership is doing the right thing. We all try to practice that. But that's not the end of it. He also said, do the right thing, by the right people, at the right time, in the right order, with the right intensity.

    "Doing the right thing" just because the right thing needs to be done, even if it is to honor "God" without consideration to the ripple of effect is not integrity, it's self indulgence.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      It looks like you double-posted. I replied above.

  • http://kenny.thesilvagroup.net Kenny Silva

    Integrity is what you do when no one is looking. It would be very easy for you to say that the executive in question wasn't authorized to make that decision and back out on your end of the deal. I respect your decision to honor your commitments. I have several friends who work for Thomas Nelson and now I understand why.
    My recent post Stories Win. Silence Loses.

  • http://4u2live.com peter eleazar

    I am amazed by such sentiments in this age of compromise and particularly so by Nelson’s value statements.

    My only insight is that you also made a promise to steward shareholder value, so you must balance the two obligations. If I read you correctly the project is unviable, so fulfilling its original terms may be unwise, making a case for a negotiated, win-win solution. Good negotiators always assume room to manouever, yet ethics is also their point of departure.

    When Saul made terms with Goliath, he bound his people to those terms, in violation of a deeply held ethic, a covenant with God. So God showed David how to meet the terms and set His people free – He never violated the terms (integrity, honour), but he also did not concede to an unrighteous outcome. WW2 is an example of how terrible a price a culture can pay for imposing an unreasonable treaty – it often leads to a greater evil.

    That said, Israel paid a great price for moving boundary lines, as when they violated the treaty once made with the Gibeonites. So your you are right to be cautious – however, don’t assume it is a cause lost, rather just let your ethics be your point of departure.

  • http://4u2live.com peter eleazar

    A further thought is that all businesses, especially those with a kingdom ethic, should put relationships first. If your counter-party had a need to alter the deal, they would approach you and negotiate new terms – just as you have every right to do. If approached sensitively the relationship could be enhanced to bring far more value to both parties over time than the current terms can achieve now, which rightly promotes value over price and issue over position. Truth is that an email commitment by a non-authorised representative of TN is not legally binding. It is merely a tacit statement of intent that should have been formally ratified, although I fully accept that is not the heart of your concern – that said, the legal context could be used to guide this into a mutually beneficial arrangement. Even Jesus said, “Be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.”

  • http://twitter.com/IMD_OWP @IMD_OWP

    Its true that leadership means honoring ones word. One needs to learn about leadership from the Olympic gold medalist rower- Sir Mathew Pinsent.
    At the IMD OWP 2010 Pinsent will share his experience from four Olympic campaigns, which resulted in four gold medals. He will highlight the importance of goal setting, communication, trust and ultimately the courage it takes to win in the toughest of conditions.

  • http://twitter.com/IMD_OWP @IMD_OWP

    Its true that leadership means honoring ones word. One needs to learn about leadership from the Olympic gold medalist rower- Sir Mathew Pinsent.
    At the IMD OWP 2010 Pinsent will share his experience from four Olympic campaigns, which resulted in four gold medals. He will highlight the importance of goal setting, communication, trust and ultimately the courage it takes to win in the toughest of conditions.

  • http://everyonesdate.weebly.com/ milf threesome

    Experience is the best teacher. Experience is the name every one gives to his mistakes. (W. Scott)

  • Calin

    I suppose you followed that deal even it was not too favorable for yr company?

  • http://www.pharmacytechnicianblog.com/ pharmacy technician

    What a great resource!

  • Pingback: Broken Promises Or Broken Moral Code? « Jason R. Osborn()

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    "Contracts were made to be broken, honey, but a handshake is the law of God." (J.R. Ewing)

  • http://jesusmovementblog.com Ed Underwood

    I spent my formative years with cowboys, firemen, and soldiers. The power of your handshake and your word influenced me deeply. Everything in the Bible affirms their commitment to the power of your handshake and your word.
    Sometimes, when discipling young men, I want to just sit around and tell stories of mountain men and warriors who kept their word.

  • http://henryfiallo.wordpress.com/ Enrique Fiallo

    Leadership is all about integrity. People with integrity won’t follow someone who can’t keep their word, and leader without integrity attract people without integrity. Personally, I have experienced 3 missed commitments by leaders in my organization in the last 6 months, and it has been difficult ever since to feel as committed to the cause as I first was. Great post!
    Enrique Fiallo

  • http://twitter.com/PilarArsenec PilarArsenec

    Yes, I have experienced this time and time again unfortunately.  I am a woman of my word.  This is what my parents taught me.  I have that kind of integrity based on example and it being ingrained in me since I was a child.  I have to be honest and admit that this is one of my pet peeves.  If you say you are going to do something, then do it.  Please don’t tell me you will and then not follow through with what you promised.  This simply drives me nuts… ha ha ha.  But I am noticing that not many people feel as I do about keeping their word or their promises.  It makes me sad, but this is the kind of world we are living in today.  I’m so glad to see that you and Thomas Nelson Publishers uphold godly principles and integrity as the standard.  You set the bar higher which is why I appreciate you all so much.  I’m very blessed to be one of your book bloggers.  God bless you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1123723512 Don McBride

    This is an excellent article.

     What is fearsome to me as a CEO who tries to set the example in this is the responsibility I have with executive managers who report to me, and then managers further on out who may make unrealistic commitments and promises.

    It’s so important to intimately instill the culture you desire in them so that they can represent me and that culture to everyone else.  Stewarding the culture, values, and mission of an organization is the most important job for a CEO.

  • Pingback: Are you known as a person of your word?()

  • Pingback: Are you a person of your word?()

  • http://makeitbigtraining.com/habits-of-success-keeping-your-word/ Rich

    yep! your word is something that people used to live and die by. we as a society really should not have changed.  I look at it this way, if I brake my word, I am lying- to myself and others. 
    I wrote a blg on this recently, about using my word to give me the power to quite smoking! http://makeitbigtraining.com/habits-of-success-keeping-your-word/

    You word matter most to you, as you know when you break it, before anyone else!

  • David Gonzalez

    Michael, what a refreshing point of view. I find it harder and harder to meet people who honor their word. I am learning that breaking one’s word usually begins with small things like habitually being late to work or meetings. From their it goes up another level to lying about why deadlines are not met. Pretty soon the person will lie about the big things in life like honoring contracts, business deals, and even marriage vows. The dangerous part in all this is that as our society becomes more and more accepting of lying and the lack of integrity, the harder is is for those of us who are trying to be people of integrity to live up to our own standard. It’s tempting to give in to the pressure all around us. Thank for reminding us that their are still people in the world who value truth and integrity.