The 3 phases of every promise
Making promises to others, and even ourselves, is natural part of daily life.
5 MINUTE READ
|
August 20, 2018

Making promises to others, and even ourselves, is natural part of daily life. Promises help us build accountability to the commitments we make to our colleagues, our families and our friends.

Most people strive to be the type of person who follows through on a promise and does what they say they are going to do. But what makes a promise a good one — one that can be trusted to come to fruition? What is the life cycle of a promise? Keep reading to learn more about what the best promises that yield results are made of.

Why Are Promises Relevant in the Business World?

Promises are important in any scenario because they build trust. When a employee makes a promise they usually feel a social commitment (or Social Discipline) to honor their commitments, especially if they are being held accountable.

When a promise is documented, it already has more power because there is proof it existed in the first place. However, that’s just the first step. Before we dive into the phases a promise goes through, let’s review the qualities of a good promise and how to craft them.

A Primer: The Characteristics of a Good Promise

According to Richard Spinosa’s Harvard Business Review article, “Promise Based Management: The Essence of Execution”, only about 50 percent of promises are kept. Unreliable promises waste time, decrease motivation and create more work.

The most essential quality of Promise-Based Management is the ability to make good promises. Promises work when people build thoughtful promises that they are confident they can keep and are regularly measured.

Good promises should be public, active, voluntary, explicit and mission-based.

Promise-based management takes the power of work commitments and integrates them into the work environment to foster greater accountability to goals and tasks. Each promise goes through three specific phases before it is successfully fulfilled.

Phase One: Meeting of the Minds

This phase is where the promise is born and expectations are developed. When either a customer or internal team member has a request, they meet to flesh out the content of a promise. The meeting of the minds includes:

  • The How: Who will fulfill the promise, and when is the deadline? Is the deadline reasonable in comparison to other commitments? Will other team members need to help support the promise-maker?
  • The Why: Why is the commitment important? Does it meet the qualities of a good promise as described above? Does it align with the mission of the organisation?
  • The What: Does the promise-maker have the resources at his or her disposal to honor the promise? List what they are and determine if other resources need to be acquired.

It is critical to take this step seriously to ensure everyone is on the same page. This helps you avoid confusion and mitigate conflict on both sides. For example, it’s common for a manager to make a request of an employee in an email without giving a deadline, making sure they understand the request, or asking if they have the bandwidth to complete the request.

The employee may find the request unimportant or feel frustrated that the manager doesn’t recognize the workload already on their plate. They flag the email for a later date and may even forget about it completely.

Imagine an alternative situation. The manager and the employee meet, a relevant request is made, a reasonable deadline is agreed upon and the manager ensures the employee has the resources, tools and support necessary to successfully honor the commitment. Robust communication empowers the employee and increases engagement.

Once all of these questions are agreed upon, phase one is complete and the real work begins.

Phase Two: Make It Happen

This is the execution phase of the promise. As described in the qualities of a good promise, the commitment should remain active throughout the execution phase.

In the business world, priorities change. Exciting new business deals don’t wait until your prior commitments have been met before coming out the woodwork. The same robust communication that helps develop proper expectations aids team members in renegotiating timelines and responsibilities quickly.

For example, the promise-maker may change the delivery method or estimated completion date if they determine the original agreement no longer fit within other responsibilities. Timely communication throughout the process helps to build trust that the task will be completed.  

Additionally, the requestor must communicate with the promise-maker if priorities or timelines change. For instance, imagine if a manager requests an employee to write a press release and send it back to them. The press release is written, sent to the manager and no response is ever given. It’s never published.

Without proper communication, the employee feels their time has been wasted. The manager should let the employee know beforehand that the press release is either no longer needed or that it’s been put on hold for the time being, allowing the employee to focus on critical tasks.

This phase ends when the requestor communicates that the task is complete before entering the last phase.

Phase Three: Close the Loop

This is the evaluation phase. Once the work has been completed, the requestor and promise-maker meet again. The requestor makes a public statement about the promise-maker’s performance and confirms whether the commitment has been fulfilled or not. For example, the requestor could mark off the task as completed in company software that is visible to the internal team and make a celebratory ‘thank you’ comment to acknowledge a job well done.

To improve future execution of promises, both parties provide meaningful feedback on developing and fulfilling commitments that improve productivity and trust.

For example, if more timely feedback was needed from the requestor so the promise-maker could make adjustments quickly to meet deadlines, this should be documented. If the requestor thought it would be helpful to see working drafts of a project in real time so work didn’t have to be redone, that should be noted to improve the process for future commitments.

Measure the Phases of Each Promise Effectively

Once any organisation starts using Promise Based Management, they should maximise the benefits by using the right tools to track the life cycle of their promises. There are plenty of task management and chat messaging software programs available. Pick one that works for your business — this is key to fostering adherence to commitments.

Samewave is social performance management software the helps teams create, track, measure and collaborate about their commitments in a one transparent space. The simple interface and public setting keeps everyone in the know, so there’s no question who is responsible for every goal and target.

Samewave is free, so introduce it to your team this week and begin crafting promises that help your business reach your goals faster.

Most pople strive to be the type of person who follows through on a promise and does what they say they are going to do. But wha makes a promise a good one — one that can be trusted to come to fruition? What is the life cycle of a promise? Keep reading to learn more about what the best promises that yield results are made of.

Why Are Promises Relevant in the Business World?

Promises are important in any scenario because they build trust. When a employee makes a promise they usually feel a social commitment (or Social Discipline) to honor their commitments, especially if they are being held accountable.

When a promise is documented, it already has more power because there is proof it existed in the first place. However, that’s just the first step. Before we dive into the phases a promise goes through, let’s review the qualities of a good promise and how to craft them.

A Primer: The Characteristics of a Good Promise

According to Richard Spinosa’s Harvard Business Review article, “Promise Based Management: The Essence of Execution”, only about 50 percent of promises are kept. Unreliable promises waste time, decrease motivation and create more work.

The most essential quality of Promise-Based Management is the ability to make good promises. Promises work when people build thoughtful promises that they are confident they can keep and are regularly measured.

Good promises should be public, active, voluntary, explicit and mission-based.

Promise-based management takes the power of work commitments and integrates them into the work environment to foster greater accountability to goals and tasks. Each promise goes through three specific phases before it is successfully fulfilled.

Phase One: Meeting of the Minds

This phase is where the promise is born and expectations are developed. When either a customer or internal team member has a request, they meet to flesh out the content of a promise. The meeting of the minds includes:

  • The How: Who will fulfill the promise, and when is the deadline? Is the deadline reasonable in comparison to other commitments? Will other team members need to help support the promise-maker?
  • The Why: Why is the commitment important? Does it meet the qualities of a good promise as described above? Does it align with the mission of the organisation?
  • The What: Does the promise-maker have the resources at his or her disposal to honor the promise? List what they are and determine if other resources need to be acquired.

It is critical to take this step seriously to ensure everyone is on the same page. This helps you avoid confusion and mitigate conflict on both sides. For example, it’s common for a manager to make a request of an employee in an email without giving a deadline, making sure they understand the request, or asking if they have the bandwidth to complete the request.

The employee may find the request unimportant or feel frustrated that the manager doesn’t recognize the workload already on their plate. They flag the email for a later date and may even forget about it completely.

Imagine an alternative situation. The manager and the employee meet, a relevant request is made, a reasonable deadline is agreed upon and the manager ensures the employee has the resources, tools and support necessary to successfully honor the commitment. Robust communication empowers the employee and increases engagement.

Once all of these questions are agreed upon, phase one is complete and the real work begins.

Phase Two: Make It Happen

This is the execution phase of the promise. As described in the qualities of a good promise, the commitment should remain active throughout the execution phase.

In the business world, priorities change. Exciting new business deals don’t wait until your prior commitments have been met before coming out the woodwork. The same robust communication that helps develop proper expectations aids team members in renegotiating timelines and responsibilities quickly.

For example, the promise-maker may change the delivery method or estimated completion date if they determine the original agreement no longer fit within other responsibilities. Timely communication throughout the process helps to build trust that the task will be completed.  

Additionally, the requestor must communicate with the promise-maker if priorities or timelines change. For instance, imagine if a manager requests an employee to write a press release and send it back to them. The press release is written, sent to the manager and no response is ever given. It’s never published.

Without proper communication, the employee feels their time has been wasted. The manager should let the employee know beforehand that the press release is either no longer needed or that it’s been put on hold for the time being, allowing the employee to focus on critical tasks.

This phase ends when the requestor communicates that the task is complete before entering the last phase.

Phase Three: Close the Loop

This is the evaluation phase. Once the work has been completed, the requestor and promise-maker meet again. The requestor makes a public statement about the promise-maker’s performance and confirms whether the commitment has been fulfilled or not. For example, the requestor could mark off the task as completed in company software that is visible to the internal team and make a celebratory ‘thank you’ comment to acknowledge a job well done.

To improve future execution of promises, both parties provide meaningful feedback on developing and fulfilling commitments that improve productivity and trust.

For example, if more timely feedback was needed from the requestor so the promise-maker could make adjustments quickly to meet deadlines, this should be documented. If the requestor thought it would be helpful to see working drafts of a project in real time so work didn’t have to be redone, that should be noted to improve the process for future commitments.

Measure the Phases of Each Promise Effectively

Once any organisation starts using Promise Based Management, they should maximise the benefits by using the right tools to track the life cycle of their promises. There are plenty of task management and chat messaging software programs available. Pick one that works for your business — this is key to fostering adherence to commitments.

Samewave is social performance management software the helps teams create, track, measure and collaborate about their commitments in a one transparent space. The simple interface and public setting keeps everyone in the know, so there’s no question who is responsible for every goal and target.

Samewave is free, so introduce it to your team this week and begin crafting promises that help your business reach your goals faster.

Thanks for signing up!
You'll hear from us in a little while!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Made with love in CPT & LDN.