July 15, 2012 by Mike Lyles
Back in 1994, I worked in tech support for year. What an enlightening time. You realize something very early in a tech support role – and that is there are people who know exactly what they are doing, and just need some help, and there are people who have no idea whats going on technically and need a friend to help them resolve their problem.
Our team used a term to describe those who had no clue technically — PICNIC. Which stood for “Problem In Chair, Not In Computer”. It was always comical when someone from the team would say “we have a picnic here….”
Today, I want to discuss a new acronym. One that I recently learned and has changed the way I work from day to day. This term is DWYSYWD (“Do What You Said You Would Do”).
Now I’ve read hundreds of leadership books, motivational materials, time management books, and listened to dozens and dozens of self help, management, and leadership audios. I’ve subscribed to everything that Stephen Covey and John C. Maxwell writes. I especially liked a book by Jeffrey Fox, entitled “How to Become CEO”. What an awesome book that is a quick read, and if you have not read it yet, i encourage you to do so.
But let’s talk about DWYSYWD. How many times in a given day do you make a committment to someone casually, and both of you know that this will never happen? How many times have you said “I’ll look into this today and get you an answer on Friday”, or “you have my word, I’ll give you a call on Wednesday and we’ll work this out”. I’m sure each of you have done this. And I would also be willing to bet that you had every intention to meet that committment.
The problem is that we make so many unwritten commitments every day, that we simply forget some of them. And then we find ourselves on committment Friday standing in front of the person we have made the committment to hearing them ask “so have you got something for me?” and you slap your face and say “oh my gosh! I knew I should have written this down”.
I have one simple suggestion – and I hope that it changes your life like it has mine. Write it down. Write down the committment you have made, the moment you have made it, who you made the committment to, the date you made the committment, and the date you committed to deliver. Then monitor and track this list to ensure you complete the task on time. You may be saying “that works well for my big commitments”, but I challenge this by saying that you should do it for everything. Why keep these commitments in your head. Each of us have too many things going on day after day to retain any of our commitments in our minds.
While this simple process will give you personal freedom and control, the effects of this disciplined approach will reach far beyond your own personal benefit.
Once people see that you are someone who always meets a committment, someone who never forgets a promise, they will gain astounding respect for you and will see you as someone they can count on always to deliver. You will also find that they will feel obligated to reciprocate the same level of committment and dedication to you.
If you are a manager or responsible for people’s careers, you will find that this is a great way to gain respect and support from your team and peers. When you consistently deliver on your commitments, they will feel empowered to meet their commitments to you as well.
You may be saying “I have kept a list for years, I have managed my ‘to-do’ lists always”. This is NOT the same. While keeping a list is a great discipline, you never have full control until you document if this is a committment to someone, and a planned delivery date for that committment. I can tell you from experience, that I too kept a list for dozens of years. I always work from one. But until just recently, I didn’t always keep the person expecting me to deliver or the committment date, and I have seen this new discipline make me extremely focused on delivering and building the trust of those around me.
I solicit your inputs on processes that you have used in your personal lives to manage your commitments as well, and I especially solicit your feedback and replies for anyone who tries this and finds it helpful!!