Under promise and over deliver
We’re about to have our house painted and the painters said, three weeks ago, that they would send us a letter that we could distribute to our neighbors to let them know that we’d be painting and if we could have access to their yard etc. Now, just a few days before they’re going to start, and after multiple emails from my wife asking for this letter, the project manager finally sent a quick email with something in the body of the email akin to, “Hi neighbor, we’re going to painting … ”
It was pretty clear that this wasn’t the letter that he had referred to weeks ago. Does that letter not really exist? Did he just forget? Misplace it? His dog is going through chemo and his mind is elsewhere?
Should you promise something and then maybe deliver or not promise anything and then maybe deliver?
It’s a (seemingly) tiny thing, but my wife has asked me five times if I’ve received this letter, where it might be, what’s up with Mr. Project Manager, “I hope their painting is better than their communication.” type of comments. Wow, a tiny item on their list and it’s made an impact in how we perceive them–and they haven’t even started yet.
I mention this because I’m at least as guilty in my own business. I probably promise and even forget what I promised. Probably forget what I promised to whom (well, promise is a big word, maybe “mentioned” … ). See, even I’m trying to play it down. But there’s nothing to play down–don’t offer something if you’re not going to come through on it. Would it have been better had the guy just not mentioned this letter? Yes. Not mentioned it and the (surprise!) sent it. Better. Would have been even better if he had promised and actually sent the letter? Absolutely.