What’s Your Word Worth?

Regardless of the topic I am presenting, many clients indicate the greatest frustration with co-workers, supervisors, team members, or managers is another person’s inability to keep his or her word. Other people don’t walk the talk or follow through with the promises they made. They simply do not do what they said they would do. It sounds so basic, but listen when I tell you that the bottom-line impact this fundamental behavior can have on an organization is incredible.

If you do not believe others watch and react to you based upon your word and actions, try this exercise:

  • First, think of an individual with whom you work or have worked, someone you greatly respect and value knowing (or having known).
    • Visualize him or her
    • Think of the various characteristics this person has that you respect
    • What did he or she do (or not do) that you respect and appreciate? Identify as many behavior traits or characteristics as you can.

    Now, review your list. You will see that this individual kept her word, followed through on promises made, did what she said, or explained honestly why revisions had to be made to the original plan. In other words, her word was worth something. A lot.

  • Second, visualize an individual with whom you work or have worked, whom you do not respect.
    • List this individual’s characteristics that inhibit your ability to respect her.
    • Reflect on how you react to this person
    • Are you willing to offer additional assistance, do you openly communicate, are you willing to dig down and give a bit more to help, do you feel loyal to this person and the organization?
  • Finally, ask yourself, “If my team members were asked to complete this exercise, would I fall in the first example or the second? What sort of words would they use to describe me?”

It doesn’t take much to anticipate the overall negative impact the behaviors of an individual described in the second example can have on a small group of people. Just imagine her harmful impact on an entire department or organization, if she holds a senior position within that organization! The negative effects on employee attitudes, and ultimately performance, can be incredible—and expensive.

So the next time you consider (for a split second) not keeping a promise or doing what you said you would do, remember the value of your word. It will be worth it.



Copyright MMVIII – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890

Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!



Liz Weber CMC CSP

Liz Weber CMC

Liz Weber coaches, consults, and trains leadership teams. She specializes in strategic and succession planning, and leadership development.

Liz is one of fewer than 100 people in the U.S. to hold both the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designations.

Contact Liz’s office at +1.717.597.8890 for more info on how Liz can help you, or click here to have Liz’s office contact you.



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