When I reflect on this quote,
I start my day with the right intentions.
In business, this can be quite impactful.
"Don't ever promise more than you can deliver, but always deliver more than you promise."
Fred Smith, the former CEO of FedEx, said business is two words. Process and Promise.
When it comes to leadership coaching, we call these brand promises. These are the compelling reasons that customers buy from you and not your competition. They are what makes you different. For most of us, that means addressing the most significant need your customer has and doing it better than anyone else.
You are probably familiar with some of these.
Figuring out your brand promise is a process and not a stagnant one. In today's technology-based world, our competition evolves at breakneck speed. That requires us to maintain a differential that means something to our clients. The exciting thing is that your brand promise may remain steeped in old school processes. Maybe you are service focused. Maybe a real person still answers the phone. That's up to you to figure out.
I suggest you start by asking yourself and your team four key questions:
Once you have them figured out, keeping your promises is not easy. Just imagine what that takes at McDonald's to make sure franchise owners across the world deliver these promises via 36,000 restaurants to serve 69 million customers a day.
Let's face it, any business can make a promise, but you need to be able to deliver upon them. That means having a process for fulfillment. Execution is key. These types of brand promises have quantitative definers so that they can be measured. With the right measures, you will know if you are delivering on your commitments daily.
With a documented process, promises are measured, improved, and taught. At my last place of employment, being ISO certified was one of our drivers. We were audited to make sure we followed our processes, and if the process changed, our documentation indicated the revision, and we had to re-train employees.
While this type of process is hard work, it drives consistency and excellence. This type of operation means that a Quarter Pounder with cheese will always taste the same to me regardless of whether I'm at my hometown McDonald's, or in a neighboring state.
Additionally, everyone in your organization should know your brand promises and these measurements, from the newest employee to your next retiree.
The right brand promises have a cost when you don't keep them. That is because they mean something. You risk disappointing customers and losing them if you don't keep them. If they don't come with a risk, they are probably not meaningful.
While it is easy to make promises but hard to keep them; I also know a lot of people and organizations that can't recite their brand promises when asked.
I encourage you to start with the four questions above and make today the day that you focus your work on the answers.