The background for this challenge includes one definition of fraud: intentionally creating a false impression. You probably never did this, but I did. One night my friend Boyd and I told my Mom that we were “going by the library and then stopping by the malt shop on our way home. Be home by 11:30, Mom.” After all, in the small town we grew up in, it was a school night, and we were, by the way, almost 17. We both said, “Hi, Library” and waved as we drove by it. We arrived at Mike’s house, had a few beers, listened to some music, and at about 11:15PM got up. We drove back home passing by the Malt Shop with a "Hi, Malt Shop” and a snicker. We felt like we had really ‘put one over’ on Mom.
“How was Mike’s?” Mom asked as she looked up from her book. Mom worked three jobs as a single wage earner, putting the four of us through school. The car I drove to Mike’s that night—a ’49 Chevy with the driver’s door held closed with a rope. The town I grew up in—very small, and my Mom knew everybody. She slowly got up from her reading chair and asked me if I knew the definition of fraud—“intentionally creating a false impression,” and then asked me how it felt.
That was a VERY LONG time ago, and it is STILL one of my key ‘touch points’ whenever I give my students the example of the importance of DWYSYWD. So, I went “By” the library, right? And we came back “by” the malt shop, right? I am so glad my Mom was so smart, gentle, firm, and found a way to help me understand that I have to be ‘in charge’ of not only my promises but also my impressions. Lying includes both broken promises as well and intentional misrepresentations.
When you make a promise–keep that promise (don't act like the car reservation agent in the above Seinfeld episode). When you create an impression of intent to do something—commit to that level of the impression. I should have asked permission to go to Mike’s or I should have gone to the library and studied until 11pm, like I tried to impress my Mom that I was going to do.
Doing a good job at DWYSYWD involves writing down in your log book the promises you make to others and the promises you make to yourself. These include the promise to work out at 0630 in the morning, as well as the implied promise to be at the meeting, prepared, and ready to go without excuses. It’s helpful in your log book to write down your excuses for not meeting your commitments as a way of seeing how silly they look in the light of day after you reread your entries.
Try to note how others view your ‘missed opportunities to meet a commitment.’ Try to note whether your relationships with others get stronger or weaker as a result of these times when you are not able to DWYSYWD. Finally, if meeting your commitments is one of the things you value, try to note what you can do to improve your batting average in DWYSYWD.
From a student:
“I’ve been in the wireless business since 2010….Sales Manager in 2012. After the DWYSYWD challenge, I cleaned up my sales act and focused on my employees. Through this challenge I stopped myself and my employees from making any promises we were not 100% sure that we could follow through with. Although we had to work harder to maintain our high sales numbers, the quality of our customer experiences improved and we got higher Customer Experience Survey scores as a location, which increased my monthly bonus. I am thankful for this challenge (and this class in general) because it has helped me improve my actions and even my paycheck!”
The above excerpt is borrowed from the upcoming book by Dr. David Paul and Val Dobrushkin: "Tapping in to the Future Want: How Caring for Your Customers, Employees, and Other Living Things Is a Strategic Imperative."
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