One of the key and critical capacities we have as a human being is the ability to create something in language, through our words, and then have that thing become reality. If you take a moment to think about it, this is truly remarkable. We can literally think up pretty much anything, express that in words, and then have that thing that did not previously exist now be a real-life thing. This human capacity has allowed us to create everything from the automobile, to the computer, to the internet… etc.
A company at its heart is a vehicle that allows a person to create something (a product or a service) in words, and form a group of people that use their words to create the systems and processes necessary to have that thing become a reality that people pay money for.
Because our word is so powerful and at the heart of why companies exist and how they run, it is essential for each of your employees (especially the CEO and the rest of the leadership team) to understand how to consistently maintain and leverage the power of their word.
For each employee in your company to consistently maintain and leverage the power of their word they must learn to:
- Powerfully give their word
- Effectively deliver on their word
- Restore their word when they break it
How to Powerfully Give Your Word
To powerfully give your word to something, you need to be:
- Specific about what the result is that you are going to deliver on.
- Specific about the time frame or when the result with be delivered.
- Specific about the level of quality of the result.
Notice the importance of the word “specific” in the above sentence. If you are not specific with the articulation of what you are going deliver and when you are going to deliver it, you have not powerfully given your word to delivering that result.
Note that it is also super important to be clear on the “quality of the result” you are delivering. If you are not clear on the expected quality of the result, you are still not able to give your word to delivering that result.
How to Effectively Deliver On Your Word
Left to our own devices we mostly are at the effect of things that get in the way of us delivering on our word. This includes being too busy to actually do the work and not having the required skill set to deliver the result to the expected level of quality.
To support us in moving past these key blockers to delivering on our word, we need accountability structures in place. The most powerful accountability structure is having an accountability buddy. And accountability buddy is someone that:
- You respect and they respect you.
- Knows what you gave your word to.
- Is willing to hold you to account.
It is important that you respect the accountability buddy because it will have you care about whether or not you deliver on your word. It is important that they respect you because you need them to support and empower you to produce the result you gave your word to. If they do not respect you / see your greatness, they will not be effective at supporting you in moving through the blockers that get in the way of you keeping your word.
Your accountability buddy needs to be willing to hold you to account as this is an active role that requires checking in with you and supporting you in delivering on the result to the expected level of quality and on time.
How to Restore & Develop The Power of Your Word – The 5-Step SQIRL Process
What comes along with the superpower of being able to create something through our words, and then have that thing become reality – is breaking our word… and the corresponding diminishing of our word’s power.
Just because we CAN create something through our words does not mean it is easy to actually deliver on that thing! In fact, it is one of the most challenging things as a human being… especially the more important or more impactful the thing we are creating through our words is.
The bad news is the more we break our word, the WEAKER our superpower of creating and bringing things to reality through our word becomes.
Conversely, the good new is that the more we give our word, work towards delivering on our word, and (if we break our word) restore the power of our word, the STRONGER our superpower becomes.
We talked a bit about how to give your word and deliver on your word above. Here we will focus on how to restore the power of your word when you break it.
To restore the power of your word when you break it, use the 5-Step SQIRL Process. Note that SQIRL is pronounced “squirrel” and is designed to support you in remembering this powerful tool.
STEP 1. SHARP
Start by setting yourself up for success by being SHARP with what you are giving your word to delivering on. Be sure you are clear and specific on what you are committing to, make sure you are actually committed to producing that result, and set yourself up with the accountability structures needed to support you.
STEP 2. COMMUNICATE
As soon as you know you cannot deliver on what you committed to, tell those impacted or effected. Note the importance of the the “as soon as” part of this step.
STEP 3. IMPACT
Meet with the people you committed delivering the result to and give them the space to tell you the impact of you breaking your word. Be sure to really give them space here. People do not like to say things that might upset you, even if they are negatively impacted by you.
STEP 4. RECOMMIT
Recommit to delivering the result with a re-articulation of the specific result, making sure you are actually committed to delivering this result, creating a new agreed upon delivery date, and making sure your accountability structures are in place.
STEP 5. LEARN
Learn from breaking your word! Look back at what caused you to break your word (either missing the deadline or not delivering to the expected level of quality). Determine at least one thing that you can do better next time to support you in delivering on your word. Note that we call this the Even Better If process – meaning what would allow things to go “even better” next time. This step is one of the most important steps as it allows you to learn from breaking your word – ultimately supporting you in further developing the superpower of YOUR word.
Transformance Tool Traction Action
To practice Restoring the Power of Your Word…
- Identify an IMPORTANT place in your personal or work life where you have broken your word.
- Be in communication with the person that you gave your word to and tell them what you broke your word around.
- Ask them to tell you the impact that you breaking your word had on them. Really give them space here.
- Recommit to doing what you said with a clear date.
- Take a few minutes to learn what led to you to break your word and take a step to uplevel that.
If you would like to train your team in developing and fully leveraging the superpower of their word both in the workplace and in their personal lives – resulting in a more productive, efficient, creative and enjoyable workplace… or learn more about our other Transformance Offerings, schedule your free 30 minute Sustained, Easeful, Rapid Scale Support Call.
Raj and the Transformance Team