What we say and what we do is a reflection of our honesty and integrity. In our business and social world, our reputation is built on our commitment to honor our agreements and promises. In essence, our word is a contract that holds us to an agreed obligation.
A few years ago I was involved in a large event and one of the food vendors agreed to donate the food. The menu was agreed on by the event coordinator and the food vendor. As we got closer to the event I asked if anyone had followed up with the food vendor. My friend told not to worry about it. He said he was good friends with the vendor, had known him for years, and he was a man of his word. On the day of the event, as it grew closer to the start time I asked again and was told the vendor would be there. He never showed up, never called, and when the event coordinator called his friend, no one at the vendor’s establishment knew anything about our event and the vendor was out of town on a camping trip.
The results were immediate. We had no food for the event. The long-term results were a bad reflection on the event, the event coordinator, the restaurant that did not send the advertised food and a loss of trust and credibility on many levels. He was not as good as his word. Our trust and loyalty to him were lost.
Our word is currency. It stands for the value of who we are. It is a trust builder, a loyalty builder, and a relationship builder. As with all currency, we should be mindful as to how we spend it. Our words are an investment in all of our relationships, both our work and personal relationships. We must be committed to its reliability and credibility.
Credibility is a keystone of relationship building. Our word must stand the test of time. It is okay to say no and still retain the trust and loyalty. If our word is a commodity then we must invest it wisely.
“Once your word is broken you don’t have much to say for yourself.”