Are you consistent in what you deliver when you say you are going to deliver it?
Except when we are not.
As a strategy to manage workloads, we often learn which colleagues, supervisors, or clients we can slide deadlines without any repercussions. So, our consistency can be fluid depending on who we are dealing with, which isn’t really consistency.
We are not talking about rigidity and not being flexible when needed, but it’s about honoring your commitments with integrity. People will know when you say yes, you mean yes; if something comes up, you will communicate. You will not hit people with unwelcome surprises.
Many people overlook that rock-solid reliability can set you apart. In fact, it’s not uncommon for professionals to underestimate the profound impact that consistent performance, clear boundaries, and keeping one’s word can have on career progression and trustworthiness.
Here are some tips on how you can enhance these crucial attributes.
Consistency in Delivering on Time
Timeliness is often equated with respect. Delivering on time, every time, shows that you value other people’s time and that you can be depended upon. Here’s how to improve your punctuality:
- Prioritize & Plan: Begin by setting clear priorities. Identify the most important tasks and allocate ample time to complete them. Break down projects into smaller, manageable tasks and set intermediate deadlines.
- Use Tools: Leverage productivity tools and apps that help with time management and reminders. Tools like Trello, Asana, or even your phone’s calendar can keep you on track.
- Avoid Procrastination: Procrastination is the enemy of timely delivery. Tackle it by employing techniques like the Pomodoro method, where you focus intently on a task for a set time, followed by a short break.
Setting Appropriate Boundaries
Knowing when to say ‘no’ is crucial for sustainability. It prevents burnout and ensures that you only commit to what you can realistically deliver.
- Assess Your Capacity: Before agreeing to a new task or project, evaluate your current workload. If taking on something new will compromise the quality of your existing commitments, it’s time to push back.
- Communicate Transparently: It’s okay to decline a task or request, but it’s essential to communicate your reasons clearly and professionally. Often, people will respect your honesty and your commitment to delivering quality.
- Remember Your Worth: Constantly overextending yourself not only devalues your time but also affects your health and well-being. By setting boundaries, you’re reinforcing your worth and ensuring that your contributions are valued appropriately.
Keeping Your Word
In the business world, your word is your bond. Here are ways to ensure you don’t go back on it:
- Commit with Care: It’s better to be cautious at the onset than to backtrack later. Before committing, ensure you understand all aspects of what’s being asked and that you can indeed deliver.
- Stay Organized: Keep track of your commitments. This can be through a simple to-do list, a digital planner, or even voice memos. The medium doesn’t matter as long as it helps you remember and deliver.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: If unforeseen challenges arise (as they often do), it’s crucial to communicate proactively. Most stakeholders will appreciate a heads-up about potential delays or issues, as long as you’re transparent and actively working towards a solution.
- Admit Mistakes Quickly: If something goes wrong, it is best to admit it, let people know as early as possible, and give them all the information at once. Then, after you have discussed the impact of the mistake, set new deadlines. People will often forget when things went smoothly but remember when things went south, and people responded well.
Consistency is a composite of many attributes, but by focusing on reliability, setting boundaries, and keeping your word, you lay a robust foundation for this sought-after trait. In the long run, this not only elevates your professional image but also fosters trust, leading to stronger and more fruitful business relationships.
Remember, in a sea of variables, being the constant not only sets you apart but also makes you indispensable. So, prioritize punctuality, protect your boundaries, and prize your promises. Your professional future will thank you for it.