Three weeks ago my internal accountant came to me and asked me to look at an issue she was having with Dynamics GP and multi currency. Something about the originating currency appearing as the functional currency and the exchange rate being around the wrong way.  I said ‘sure’ I will look at it tomorrow.  

I lied. Plain and simple. I had no intention to look at it.  I did not want to look at it. Multi currency had worked for 5 years and if it was broke it was going to be messy. So I smiled and said ‘sure I’ll look at it’. I hoped I would. I actually had time to do it. But I knew I would not!! I secretly hoped it would go away.

Why do I do that?  Why do Others do it?  I know Chris Dew does it. I know Simon Butler does it. Sometimes the eOne developers do it.  I know my wife rarely if ever does it. I know Abbey rarely does it.  Sadly I suspect the people to whom I am making the promise also know I am lying to their face.

So why?  I actually fully intend to follow through on my promise. But I take no steps to ensure that I do.  I make it optional – which should not be the case if my word means anything. I have degrees of promise somewhere in my subconscious. If I tell my 6 yr old son I will make it to his soccer practice – that is a promise I’ll keep.  If I tell someone at work that I will find those missing XML files from the deep recesses of our network file structure – it is  just optional!!

I think part of the issue is the desire to please. Nice guys want to help everyone even when they do not have time. ‘Tomorrow’ is so far away, and ‘by the end of the week’ is even further away and ‘next week’ is like forever. Of course I’ll do it.  The problem is I do nothing to ensure I’ll remember and follow through.

So why is this a problem?  I quote here form a writer Danielle LaPorte who said  ‘Letting it slide is a slippery slope that leads to sleepless nights and eroded integrity which all adds up to a whole lot of yuck.’

Lack of Integrity. Lack of integrity is a serious issue. No one wants to attain a lower level of integrity. A reduction in integrity is exactly what we achieve when we fail to do what we say we will do. So it is simple – everyone must stop telling little fibs.

How do you break a bad habbit of blatant lies? In fact we lie so much often we don;t even know we are making a committment.

1. Don’t say you will do something, don’t write it in an email.
Today I wrote in an email the words ‘I will get back to you today with my findings’.  The problem is there is every chance I will know nothing more on the issue today – so I simply will not be able to fulfill my promise. I set an expectation I may not be able to fulfil – and it was a promise I actually did not need to make.

What about conversation enders or fillers?  Do you say ‘I’ll call you tomorrow’ or ‘I’ll look you up when next in down’ or ‘let’s do lunch next week’ or ‘I’ll get back to you’ or ‘I’ll speak to John about that’.  Stop it unless you mean it. Do you really plan on having lunch next week with them – or are you hoping they are too busy or just forget?

2. Record it
You have to record your promises. Write them on paper, in a notebook, in your outlook calendar, on your hand, write yourself an email. Record it somewhere every time? If you do not record it how can you make sure you follow through.

3. Review it
I am good at writing stuff down, but really bad at reviewing it. Make a rule to review ALL your to do promises before you get out of the car at the end of the day. Before Lunch. Before Breakfast. Before you go for a run.  I don’t care when just make yourself a rule and follow it.  Make sure everything is off your list.

4. Undo your lie
If by chance you are simply unable to fulfil your promise – call and let everyone know.  Don’t email, don’t text, Do Call.  You made a promise – so own it. If you have to say ‘sorry I decided to play golf instead’ – at least have the integrity to tell it how it is.  Always let someone know if you are not going to be able to deliver and set a new time frame if appropriate.  Do not Cancel twice.

100%. Aim for 100%. Imagine doing every single thing you promised you would do. You would sleep better. You would be respected more. You would get more done. You become someone people can rely on.

Quoting again from Danielle.
Aim for impeccable. There’s a great scene in Jerry McGuire, where one of the Zig Ziglar-like “mentor guys” in a polyester suit says in his heavy southern accent, “If I don’t return yer call in 24 hours, well, you can rest assured that I am dead.” I want that guy on my team.

So I am going to try and make the change. Feel free to call me out – if I am not upholding my side of the bargain. I have to finish now and go and check out a multi currency issue in my internal GP system.