Over-Promising and Under-Delivering: Building Trust from the Start

In the world of professional relationships, setting expectations right is key. One critical aspect of these interactions is balancing what we promise and what we actually deliver. This is especially important during those initial, crucial engagements with an organisation.


The Trust Equation

Trust is the foundation of all professional relationships. From the very first interaction with an organisation, people are gauging its trustworthiness and reliability. Over-promising and then failing to deliver can severely damage this budding trust, leading to disappointment and leaving a lasting negative impression.


Setting Realistic Expectations

Everyone wants to impress, and it’s tempting to make big promises. But there’s a fine line between ambition and reality. While over-promising might create initial excitement, falling short leads to frustration and disappointment. It’s far better to be upfront about what’s realistically achievable. Being transparent from the start sets a solid foundation for trust.


Impact on Organisational Culture

The effects of over-promising extend beyond how outsiders see the organisation. Internally, setting unattainable goals can demoralise teams who are tasked with achieving the impossible. This not only impacts performance but also affects engagement and loyalty. A culture of unmet promises can spiral into broader issues, ultimately affecting overall morale and productivity.


The Role of Communication

Good communication is crucial. It’s about more than just the first conversation—it’s about keeping the dialogue going and keeping everyone informed. Being honest and clear, especially when things change, helps manage expectations and builds trust. Regular updates and feedback ensure everyone is aligned and working towards achievable goals.


Evaluating Capabilities

Before making promises, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what can realistically be done. This means being honest about resources, skills, and timelines. By knowing your true capabilities, you can set realistic promises that are ambitious yet attainable. This approach not only ensures delivery but also helps build a reputation for reliability.


Delivering on Promises

In the end, delivering on promises is what truly builds credibility. Consistently meeting or exceeding expectations creates a track record of trustworthiness. This requires careful planning, execution, and sometimes going the extra mile. When you consistently deliver, you strengthen relationships and create more opportunities for growth and collaboration.


The Long-Term Perspective

In professional interactions, especially those initial engagements that can make or break long-term relationships, under-promising and over-delivering is crucial. Setting realistic expectations and consistently meeting them builds trust and lays the groundwork for lasting success.


Being known for delivering more than expected is much better than falling short. Building a reliable and trustworthy reputation starts with that very first interaction. Let’s make it count.