False Promises

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“But I have


promises to keep


     and miles to go


      before I sleep . . .”



NOTHING is more aggravating to a business professional than assurances from others that prove empty, guarantees that don’t deliver, and boxes full of promises with false bottoms.

These games waste time and money, drain energy, and create havoc for the person or organization on the receiving end.

I recently witnessed a guaranteed $1 million sale that ended up costing a great deal of anxiety and money to discover that the “sale” was a hoax.

Maybe a million dollar sale is hard to relate to, so here’s one I’m sure you’ve experienced:

An on-again, off-again client (Sam) once assured me my proposal to manage a very major (big fee) project was acceptable and that we should meet to wrap it up early the following week.

He asked me to call on Friday morning to set a time and date when we could meet and I could pick up a check.


With some overdue bills on the desk, that was a welcome thought. The accompanying feelings of relief were quickly muffled. On Friday morning, Sam was unavailable so I left a voicemail and doubled up with an email that I could be available to get together on Monday or Tuesday. Sam never responded. It was a long weekend.

I called again on Monday and had to leave another voicemail. I sent another email. Still no response.

In the meantime, the two teleconferences originally set for Monday that I had moved to Wednesday so I could be available for Monday or Tuesday were suddenly on the firing line. I tried Sam’s number to no avail three more times that day. At the end of the day Tuesday, Sam called to apologize for being very busy and wanted to meet on Wednesday.

I explained I had conference calls set up, and Sam then suggested connecting on Thursday. He had my check ready. I asked if he could put it in the mail so I could get started, and he said he needed to meet personally with me first to “go over a couple of minor points and sign off on the project.” 

One of the Tuesday conference calls (involving a dozen people) was last-minute rescheduled –you guessed it– to Thursday.


Sam, as it turns out, was “called out of town at the eleventh hour” on Thursday and didn’t bother to let me know until his email arrived two minutes after the rescheduled conference call that I was supposed to be in, was completed.

He sent me an email on Friday saying he promised he would be at my office first thing Monday. I took a deep exhale and shuffled my Monday schedule around so the morning would be clear.

Sam called at noon Monday to say he was sorry for not getting to me earlier, but assured me he would be stopping in later that afternoon, at 2pm. At 2:15pm, an email arrived announcing that the week had just become “too crazy” and would the following Monday afternoon be okay to meet. You know when you can feel the meltdown is on the way?

I politely told Sam to take a hike. I had to run double-speed to make up the lost time and attention to other clients and pay the overdue bills. This is of course all in addition to my churning stomach and missed sleep.

I know, I know, I did a lot of stupid things , but only because I start with trust, and expect people to keep their word. 

It’s happened before. It will no doubt happen again. I would never dream of being what I consider to be so “insolent,” so I have a hard time accepting that some people out there really don’t care about honoring their commitments.

“Promises are made to be broken” they might say. Well, I’ve learned the hard way to be more suspect of people who assure me of anything. It’s really not hard–especially these days– to communicate, unless a conscious choice is being made to confuse, confound, annoy, not deliver, take the high road, or pretend to be too busy to be concerned about other’s commitments. 

Show me. Don’t talk about it.


And when you miss the first shot and don’t call . . . don’t call! I’m not interested. Sam ruined it for both of us! Here it is: Demonstrate respect and follow through with what you assure others of, and you’ll never lose credibility, or business. And you stand to gain: a high-trust reputation. 


 # # # 

302.933.0116    Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

3 comments so far

3 Comments to “False Promises”

  1. Hal Alpiar’s Blog » HONORon 20 Jan 2011 at 9:51 pm

    […] Business and personal reputations are made or broken by the treatment of and attention to honoring commitments, delivering what’s promised. […]

  2. […] get tired of having people raise my skeptical right eyebrow with the distracting words they use (and sometimes the distracting ways they deliver them), instead […]

  3. Hal Alpiar’s Blog » PROMISES TO KEEPon 06 Apr 2011 at 9:34 pm

    […] imagine where your business would be if you kept only 24% of the promises you make. Now that may be some heavy-duty food for thought, but it shouldn’t be hard to answer the […]

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