When You Can’t Deliver

No one is perfect, so…

What happens when you are not able to deliver on a promise?  How you handle this most difficult situation is defining for you and those who it affects.

Do you…

  1. make an excuse?
  2. blame someone else?
  3. take responsibility?

It is easy to make an excuse or blame someone else, even if it is true, but it is hard to take responsibility. Typically things that are hard to execute yield the biggest rewards, but we all deal with a certain level of cognitive dissonance.

“Cognitive dissonance is what we feel when the self-concept — I’m smart, I’m kind, I’m convinced this belief is true — is threatened by evidence that we did something that wasn’t smart, that we did something that hurt another person, that the belief isn’t true,” said Carol Tavris, a co-author of the book https://www.amazon.com/Mistakes-Were-Made-But-Not/dp/1491514132

When our “self-concept” is threatened we automatically try to protect that.  We also feel more in power by not taking responsibility or apologizing.  While it feels nice stay in control in the short-term, it can be detrimental in the long-term.  Those around us feel less likely to give constructive criticism and can even lose trust or confidence.

So how do we change this normal behavior?

First of all, we need to understand that we can change our behavior (reference). Also, it helps to remember that people are more forgiving than you expect. Being honest and humble makes you seem more human and relatable. When we refuse to take responsibility it reveals low self-confidence.

While we try our best to protect our dignity or self-concept, when we can’t deliver on a promise it is always best to take responsibility.  It builds trust, confidence and makes you seem more relatable.

When you can’t deliver, deliver responsibility.

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