It seems that in this day and age people seem to be eager to accept agreements and enter into commitments without analyzing the consequences or results of their actions. I truly respect those that have the ability and courage to say “no” to a commitment when he or she knows that the time and effort to follow through on that commitment will become too overwhelming. I worry about the ones who make a commitment and simply walk away.
Preparation. Today, I’m preparing for a class that I’m to teach. One that wasn’t originally on my list. It all came about because someone who had made the commitment earlier to teach this class had decided that it wasn’t in his best interest to continue. I regret that it came to that, and I don’t know all the circumstances. However, I do know that when I recommend someone for a job, I stand behind that recommendation. When this person did not complete his commitment, I told the client, I would continue on his behalf to ensure the students weren’t affected by this unfortunate turn of events.
Broken Promises. I know the students in the end won’t know the difference as “the show must go on,” and they will just see this as an instructor change. Often, the drama that takes place “behind the scenes” by the performers is best left unknown to the audience. I do think, though, that the damage left behind by broken promises and commitments leaves a wake that is difficult to overcome. People who walk away from commitments under the veil of “better things to do” should just learn to respect others and not over commit themselves in the first place. Simply walking away and allowing others to pick up their slack is just plain unprofessional.
Consider Agreements. The lesson here is to thoroughly think about your agreements before entering into them. Consider that a decision may affect you for months and years to come, and if you are unwilling to accept that, you should simply decline when someone asks you to do a task. It is simpler and easier to do that at the beginning or alternatively provide a considerable transition period and not leave abruptly.
- How do you feel when someone fails to follow through on a commitment?
- What is the best way to say “no” when someone asks you to commit to a task that you know you cannot handle?
- What do you think is a reasonable amount of time to give to others for a transition?
How About You? Have you ever had to offer support for last minute cancellation? I look forward to your comments below or contact Naomi here.