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When We Screw Up!

When we screw up, let’s stop calling it “dealing with priorities”. Call it what it more often is: over-promising, knee-jerk decisions, and disrespect. When you screw up, just admit it, then apologize, rectify it, and don’t do it so much in the future.

Example One: You say you’ll call me at a certain time. You don’t call when you said. You don’t call me at all. Example Two: You ask me to drive somewhere to meet. You have your assistant call me to cancel (after I’ve left for our appointment!). And you don’t follow-up to apologize or reschedule.

In both cases, “priorities” took over; you were “forced” to cancel. Some unavoidable conflict “came up.” Call it what it more often is—you screwed up. It’s okay! Just apologize. We all should make keeping our word a priority; we all should honor our commitments.

When things change unavoidably, give the other person advance notice—notify me as soon as you think it might happen, not at the last minute—so it doesn’t interfere with my priorities! I make decisions about who I hang with based on how they behave and not on how important they think they are, how much money they have, or what their title is…respect for others is a must.

I believe in taking care of priorities, certainly. It’s what you should do for you and yours. We all expect you to pursue your priorities—maximizing your time and your return—unless you interfere with our priorities, waste our time. Over-promising and poor planning often get excused as “dealing with priorities.” It really means dealing with self-caused emergencies.

I understand we sometimes have to reschedule. Last-minute cancellations for other than dire emergency (like taking an injured child to the hospital) are often just lack of respect for the other person’s time and importance. And the easy way out to avoid a commitment.

If you’re doing it with me, you’re doing it with others. Make sure you don’t develop a reputation for over-promising and not coming through. It’s a deadly habit. Your charm will soon run out. If you don’t want to hang with me, it’s OK. Don’t just wait for a better offer! Please don’t screw with my time and my priorities.

Do what you say you’ll do. Make keeping your promises a priority. Have a reputation for coming through. People will respect you. And they’ll come through for you!

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  • Tim says:

    Common courtesy is always in vogue. “Thank you”, “please”, “pardon me” – simple phraseology that commands respect, because it gives respect.