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Joel never makes any promises?

>> The best way to avoid breaking promises is not to make any

Wow, that must make life for people around Joel to be real tough.

>'Joel, can you get the shopping on your way home from work tonight, we've run out of food and my broken leg means I can't go shopping?' - mum

>'Sorry mum, can't say at the moment - you'll find out when I get home tonight' - joel

Surely it's better to make promises that you intent to keep and the keep them?! Isn't that how trust is built - by making and keepping promises (however small?)

Yandoo
Friday, January 17, 2003

People can really snow you under promises if you let them; a lot of being social is turning many down.  Obviously there must be some level where you make promises, like when someone's leg is broken.  But why make promises when you can simply just do something?  Trust doesn't come from promises, it comes from actions.

BTW, you can see that this is an issue I deal with often. ;)

anon
Friday, January 17, 2003

>>Trust doesn't come from promises, it comes from actions.

I think it comes from a combination of both. Learning to make (the right ones) and keep promises is a cruical part of life as far as I'm concerned. Starting with making and keeping promises to yourself (you implicitly make promises to yourself whether you like it or not). Extending that to include others once you trust yourself enough is a natural next step.

If you're incapable of telling someone you're going to do something and not be able to trust yourself to forfill that promise then what does that say about you??

Yandoo
Friday, January 17, 2003

">> The best way to avoid breaking promises is not to make any"

I think Joel just intended for the statement to apply to business and not necessarily to personal life.

There's not too much harm in breaking promises with loved ones such as your family if you've got a good reason, and when they're usually understanding and forgiving. 

So there's not too much repercussions that can't be easily repairable in a personal situation, while in business one slip up on a promise can make or break a deal.  The other side usually doesn't have the background and relationship built up as in the personal relations with a family member or close friend.

HeyMacarana
Friday, January 17, 2003

Joel wasn't talking about promises per-se, but peoples' expectations about the content of that which is promised.

"Sure, mom - I'll pick up some milk on my way home.  Don't hobble down to the market - I'll take care of it."

... later ... "Joel, why didn't you get eggs, too?  Didn't you see the almost-empty carton right next to the milk in the 'fridge this morning?"

Joel only promised to get milk, and he delivered.  However, his mom assumed that he would realize that they were out of eggs too, and is now disappointed that he wasn't ... observant? ... prescient?

In the software business where I work, we were all the time dealing with unrealistic customer expectations and frustration when what we had promised - with full disclosure to the client - didn't meet up with their unspoken expectations.  We'd promise a fax number field for the vendor form, then they'd get pissed that we didn't also include a fax number field for the client (home, not business, people) form.  Now - it would be great if we were imaginative enough to think of the second fax field, but that was not what we promised.  But ...

So, we don't promise things to clients anymore.  We politely tell them, "we'll take your suggestion under advisement, and it may appear in a future version."

Karl Perry
Friday, January 17, 2003

> So, we don't promise things to clients anymore.
> We politely tell them, "we'll take your suggestion
> under advisement, and it may appear in a
> future version."

This is the safest way to go.  I've done it myself lots of times.  But customers hate it.  What they want is someone who will properly manage their expectations instead of just eliminating them.

Being more open with customers is obviously a risk, but there is an associated reward.  People like working with vendors who will be a little more open with their vision and plan.

Eric W. Sink
Saturday, January 18, 2003

>>There's not too much harm in breaking promises with loved ones such as your family if you've got a good reason, and when they're usuallyunderstanding and forgiving. 

>>So there's not too much repercussions that can't be easily repairable in a personal situation, while in business one slip up on a promise can make or break a deal. 

I couldn't disagree more. I think it's important to keep all promises, especially ones in your personal life. For me, making and keeping promises is the way you build trust and respect - and these are critical parts of any relationship. Of course, there are instances when a promise can't be kept - but I think that should be the extreme exception not the rule.

I guess it depends on what you think is must important in your life - loved ones or your work. For me there is no choice.

Yandoo
Monday, January 20, 2003

Check out "Influence: How and Why People Agree to Things" by Robert Cialdini.

It outlines the six principles that underlie successful sales: reciprocation; social validation; commitment/consistency; friendship/liking; scarcity; and authority.

The relevant one here is commitement/consistency, where a sales person gets you to agree to something easy and then uses that to manipulate you as people tend to want to be/appear to be consistent.

Robert Cowham
Tuesday, February 04, 2003

I can't stand people who make promises than when you see if they are going to follow though, they say they have made other plans.  I understand when you make a promise to like your family but when you see a guy or girl you like it is nice if you also keep your promises to them, we all have feelings!

Shira
Wednesday, October 15, 2003

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