Ask for a commitment and not a promise?
Most people fail not because of a lack of desire but because of a lack of commitment.” – Vince Lombardi
Let us take an instance. Both Adam and Steve are salespeople in an organisation. They both wanted to get a contract signed by the client and sent back to them. Adam calls up the client and asks “Can you please send back the signed form by 6 PM today?” The client says “Yes”. Steve on the other hand asks the client “By what time do you think you can send the signed contract back?”. The client says “By 7 PM today”. Who do you think has a higher chance of getting the contract back? Obviously Steve. Why do you think that is the case?
Adam got a promise from the client whereas Steve got a commitment. The chances of people keeping their commitment are a lot higher than they keeping their promise . Thus we should always get our clients to commit and not promise. Let us delve a little deeper to find out how both these scenarios are different.
What differentiates a promise from a commitment:
- A promise is external whereas commitment is internal
- A promise is an agreement to someone else’s choice whereas commitment is our choice
- When you break a promise you let someone else down whereas when you break a commitment you let yourself down
A promise is external whereas commitment is internal
A promise is done to make someone else happy so it is external. When we are committed to something it comes from within ourselves so it is internal. Let us illustrate the same with an example.
Joanne was working on a special project and her manager asked her whether she could report to work at 7 AM. To which she agreed but she came in only post 7.30 AM everyday. Even though Joanne made a promise but she did not keep it because it was external. Whereas, when the same manager told Joanne “You know the criticality of the project. How early in the morning can you report to work?” Joanne replies “7 AM” and she sticks to it because it is a commitment which came from within or otherwise it is internal.
In the above mentioned scenario when Joanne gives a promise to report to work at 7 AM it is external whereas when she commits to report to work it is internal.
A promise is an agreement to someone else’s choice whereas commitment is our choice
A group of friends decide on going for a movie. Jack calls William and asks “We all have planned for a 9 PM show for a movie and I am booking the tickets. Are you interested?” William says “Yes” and he might end up cancelling or not turning up. On the other hand, Jack asks William “We have all planned for a movie together and I am booking the tickets. Which show do you think I should book?” William says “9 PM” and he sticks to the plan because it is a commitment and it was his choice.
In the above situations, when William agreed to a choice made by Jack, he made a promise and when he made a commitment he made the choice.
When you break a promise you let someone else down whereas when you break a commitment you let yourself down
John and David are overweight and they both decide to start a workout routine to lose five pounds. John was hitting the gym to make his mother happy who was worried about his health. However, he soon discontinued. David on the other hand, wanted to lose weight to look good for a friend’s wedding and was doing it for himself and managed to lose the desired weight.
In the above mentioned scenario, John had made a promise to his mother and let his mother down, however, David made a commitment to himself and did not want to let himself down.
Thus, It is crucial that in Corporate as well as personal scenarios we ask for commitments and not promises.
Please let us know in the comments below, a commitment you have taken from someone instead of a promise. Would love to hear from you.