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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

JETNETTING: The First Impression Factor XXIII: Reliable... You Are, or You Are Not!

JetNetting with Heshie Segal

A short story about Sarah and Jack, how life works when you do not keep your word, and the lesson you take from it, if you want to be successful.

Sarah was annoyed. “You said you were going to the event. You know I did not know a single person, and you promised you would be there to guide and introduce me. I trusted you to be your word. This is the second time you have done something like this. What I have learned is that you are just not reliable. And to think I was going to talk to you about joining my team. That has now changed.”

Jack was uncomfortable and responded with excuses. “Something came up at the last minute. My son needed the car for an appointment that was really important to him . . . and . . . I, uh, well, I gave in and let him use it. You know how kids beg and beg until they get what they want. He put me on such a guilt trip. I just couldn’t say no. It left me without transportation so I could not get to the event.”

Sarah was no longer annoyed. She was angry. “Just a minute. Let me get this straight. What I am hearing is that OUR appointment, your commitment to me, was not important enough for you to keep your word, knowing I was apprehensive. You did not even consider calling, to at least let me know!"

Jack was digging deeper. “I know you. You are great at meeting new people. I knew you would be able to handle it. You do really well under pressure. I bet you met a lot of people and had a really enjoyable time.”

Sarah realized the pointlessness of the conversation and said, “Jack, you know, you are right. I did meet a lot of people. I went to the registration desk, told them it was my first time and the person I was supposed to meet had not arrived. 'Could they help by introducing me to some of the members?' Of course, they were delighted. Then they asked whose guest I was and of course I told them I was yours.

"One of them replied, 'That’s strange. He said he was coming and did not call to say otherwise. We had counted on him to be one of our ambassadors.'

"I asked them to let me know if you called.

As the evening progressed, I met a gentleman who reminded me a bit of you, Jack. He was well dressed, cordial, obviously very bright, a smooth talker, confident and interesting. He asked a lot of questions, and at one point, mentioned he was looking for a position that was more challenging. I became very still and started to evaluate the possibilities. I was impressed. I was entertaining the idea of inviting him to take a look at our company with the possibility of joining our team, if things went well. Thinking about your not showing up and not having the courtesy to even call, I did tell him that one of the qualities I wanted in a team member was reliability. That was a must!”

Sarah hesitated and wanted to hear what Jack would say.

Jack again became defensive.

Sarah unequivocally knew it was for the best that Jack had not shown up because she could have hired him and made a costly mistake. Jack made a commitment. What went wrong?
  • Jack did not keep his word.
  • He did not show up.
  • He did not even call.
  • He chose his priorities. We all know that our children are important to us. In this case, there was an opportunity for Jack to teach his son about responsibility and reliability via keeping a commitment. What a missed opportunity for a lesson.
  • Jack’s child learned how to become an even better manipulator. Sarah was offended and in the business world it only takes a few offenses before word spreads and business is lost.
  • Jack had proven his lack of reliability. That translates into a lack of integrity, dependability honesty, and the list goes on.
When you are not reliable, you are also saying:
  • I am more important than you.
  • It’s all about me.
  • I get caught up in my own interests, don’t have to be responsible to you and that’s OK.
  • There are rules for other people and I can go by my own rules.
I don’t care about others. If you want the job, the respect, the position, the . . . whatever it is you want, then reliability has to become a part of your process. Be reliable and you win, be unreliable and you lose. It’s almost as simple as that.

How do you show you are a reliable person?

Do what you say you will do. Evaluate what you are asked to do and only commit to what you know you will do. Think about it as a promise and as integrity dictating, “You don’t break promises.” Have a track record of consistency and reliability. Learn to say “no.” Clarify the commitment. You are, or you are not reliable. Normally, there is room for a little flexibility as long as the violation is situational and not a pattern. Don’t be a Jack. Just be reliable.

Be your word! Relationships flourish on reliability. Make your life overflow with a wide circle of reliable people with you standing out as the model "citizen."

For more information, please visit Hershie's TNNWC Bio.


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