Reliance is unreliable…

15 Oct

Do you know that the only person you can ever rely on 100% is you?

This obvious realization came crystal clear to me this week as multiple situations (that relied on the response of others) came to a head and had a variety of outcomes. At the end of the week, I find myself seeking to reduce my reliance on others – it’s just too unreliable!

I must be an eternal optimist because even though the situation keeps repeating itself (people promise and then don’t deliver)… and still I trust the next person who promises to do something.  I’m finding the situation getting worse as the recession continues!

Don’t you wonder sometimes what happened to the work ethic of yesterday where people DID what they said they’d do?  More and more often the Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz emerge – especially agreement #2 – Don’t take ANYTHING personally.  It is a difficult challenge (for me at least) to realize that some people simply disappoint by not following through on what they promise – and they do so with everyone, everywhere.  It is not a personal affront – but it does feel personal when it happens repeatedly to you.

Here’s rundown of my week (and this is NOT atypical):

  • Three weeks ago I won tickets to a local concert from a radio station, and for three weeks I’ve tried to coordinate to pick up the tickets.  Twenty-one days later and exactly 24 hours before the event, I finally received the tickets despite multiple promises to mail them, deliver them, leave them at a predetermined place and tens of phone calls, voice mails, emails, and insisting that I would have the tickets imminently.
  • A client I’ve worked with for two years gave me specific instructions for submitting course evaluations to them which they in turn would deliver to the end-user.  I did my part immediately and they promised to send the papers to the user within a day. A week and a half later the end-user issues a statement blaming me for not sending the papers – and my client contact confesses that they sent an email to the end-user but neglected to attach the needed documents over a week ago.
  • I made arrangements with a hotel to ship leftover documentation from a class back to a client.  The hotel promised to do so but said client never receives it.  Multiple phone calls and emails to the hotel and then back and forth with the client finally got the hotel to deliver on their original promise to ship the materials – almost two weeks later.
  • An international conference where I am presenting a keynote speech in two weeks promises to put up the program on their website for months now.  After multiple emails asking for an update, the conference finally confesses that it wasn’t a big priority to them, and finally their travel agent contacts me to make travel arrangements (only 2 weeks out from the conference).

The amount of rework, babysitting to make sure promises are kept, follow-up with emails, voice mails, phone calls and meetings is absolutely out of control these days.  Actions speak louder than words – and it seems more and more today that words are just wishful thinking of actions that may or may not ever occur.

What’s your experience?  Do you find yourself having to followup an email 5 or 6 times (at least) before you receive an answer?  And leaving multiple voice mails before you ever (if ever) receive a response?

Have you discovered any great remedial actions that increase responsiveness or do you just “suck it up” and don’t hold your breath when someone promises to do something and then routinely neglects to follow through?

Wishing you a successful and streamlined end of your work week!



4 Responses to “Reliance is unreliable…”

  1. Renelda Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    You are correct. The only person you can rely is yourself in 100%. My motto in life is seeing is believing. Some people have good intentions on delivering on promises but excuses always comes up. BTW am a fan of your writing style and word expression. Easy to read and straight to point.

    • Carol Dekkers Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 12:45 am #

      Thanks Renelda. I appreciate your support and your comments!

  2. Bill Ravensberg Monday, October 18, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    I think I’m in that “older” group too where I work hard to deliver what I said I would.

    It really frustrates me when others don’t.

    A lot of productive time is lost and wasted chasing down promises.

    I think it has become a symptom of people having to do more with less. The pressures to deliver what is expected by “the boss” outweigh promises.

    Although, on the other hand, I see a lot of people putting more time into making excuses than it would take to “just do it”.

    Thanks for the post and I hope your week will be better Carol.

  3. Ann-Louise Friday, October 15, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    It is a pity that nowadays promises mean nothing. I personally feel very uncomfortable and ashamed, if I can’t keep my promise. And usually it’s because of someone else, who doesn’t do what was agreed (as we say in Finland, it is always because of a famous person called Someone Else). In my opinion, if you have a schedule, you stick to it. And don’t give any promises you know you can’t keep. It should be simple, but apparently too much asked these days.

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