When you boil it down to its essence, all communication is about coordinating action with people. We fail when we are not clear with our language and intent.
What is obvious to me may not be obvious to you.
Relationships trust is established based on our ability to communicate in unison with each other. Healthy relationships are based on promise making, promise keeping, and promise managing. Promises are the foundation for our public identity, our effectiveness, and our well-being.
We may not call them commitments, but promises are agreements and decisions about who is going to do what, when, and how. A commitment is a promise to ourselves and a promise to others.
We cannot have shared commitment without shared understanding. Our expectations are based on the promises we think we have made.
Unspoken expectations are premeditative broken promises.
People do not care about your expectations. Or mine. They care about the commitments we make and keep.
A promise is a personal commitment people expect you to honor.
There are 3 types of promises.
1. Strong/Healthy Promises
- Promises I am fully committed to keep; You can count on me.
- If I am unable to keep my promise, I can renegotiate my original promise
- i.e. I will meet you for coffee at 8 am. I will complete my assignment on time.
2. Shallow Promises
- Look like a strong promise, but an unspoken condition exists.
- i.e. Yes, I will play golf with you on Saturday (unless it rains or something else comes up)
3. Criminal Promises
- Promises that at the moment we make them, we know we have no intention of keeping
- i.e. Maybe…My son asks me to play with him when I am done, and I tell him maybe
Promises unkept are NOT equal to expectations unmet.
What promises are you making?
Are you honoring those promises?
What promises are you fully committed to honoring?
What promises do you need to renegotiate?