Under Promise and Over Deliver

Although the contents of this blog posts is important for people in a leadership position, it is also important to people who are not. The idea of under promising and then over delivering is something that can be used by people in any situation and will almost always help further your career advancement.

Why is this concept so important? Well, all to often people come up with grandiose plans that they tell to everyone involved then fail to accomplish said plans. This results in making them look unqualified and incompetent. A recent example of this is my fraternities special events chairman. For months he has been telling us how he is going to plan an extravagant spring formal for us that will be one for the record books. He has told us about an array of different options, from Chicago, to Nashville, even a trip to Canada. Time after time he continually built our expectations up only to have them shattered, when he failed to get a single plan finalized. Not only have people in the house lost a lot of respect for him, but some are incredibly angry towards him for failing to get anything done.

Had he followed the simple principle of under promising and over delivering, he might not have found himself in such a harsh position. Sure, people may have still been upset that nothing got finalized, but they would have been prepared for it. The same applies to the business world as a leader it is important to keep peoples expectations low. This accomplishes two things, one you are less likely to disappoint people when things do not turn out as planned, and two when things go exceedingly well people are even more taken back by it since they expected so little to begin with.

This is a valuable tool to implement in the business world whether you are a leader or follower and although it is appropriate in almost any situation their is one scenario in which you should not use it. That is interviewing. When you’re interviewing for jobs your should always over promise. Build yourself up as much as possible and talk about how much you have accomplished and will be able to accomplish. Just be careful though, because whatever you say in an interview you better be able to back up in the job. If you talk about how much you can do, and get the job under that premise, then underperform you will find yourself in a situation similar to my friend.


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