Problem-Solving Success Tip: Keep Your Promises
by Jeanne Sawyer
Meet your commitments. Do what you promise and don't promise what you can't deliver. Meeting commitments strengthens relationships and builds trust. You need both to solve messy problems. If the situation changes and you have to change a commitment you made in good faith, let everyone know right away so they can make appropriate changes to their own plans. It seems obvious, but many people don't manage to do this.
Managing your commitments successfully means you must be organized yourself, which brings us back to project management--with you being the overall project. That means you'll need to write down all your specific projects, identify tasks, set priorities and keep track of progress and due dates. Each time you consider a new assignment, start by estimating the resources needed (mainly your time) and make sure you've got what you need. Don't accept the assignment if you don't have the resources necessary. If the new assignment is more important than some of your current projects, then get the priorities and expectations adjusted by making explicit agreements with the stakeholders in the projects getting pushed back.
Like any project, of course, you'll need to keep updating your project plan so that it reflects accurately everything you're working on. You'll be able to tell more easily if you can accept a new commitment, and if anything starts slipping, you're in a position both to recognize that it's happening and also to do something about it.
Copyright 2007. Jeanne Sawyer. All Rights Reserved.
Jeanne Sawyer is an author, consultant, trainer and coach who helps her clients
solve expensive, chronic problems, such as those that cause operational
disruptions and cause customers to take their business elsewhere. These tips are
excerpted from her book, When Stuff Happens: A Practical Guide to Solving
Problems Permanently. Find out about it, and get more free information on
problem solving at her web site: http://www.sawyerpartnership.com/.