Merge's Blog

Set a date (and keep it) to build your credibility

Seth Godin said something on his blog the other day that struck a chord with me.


If you haven’t announced a date, you’re not serious.

Pick a date. It can be far in the future. Too far, and we’ll all know that you’re merely stalling. A real date, a date we can live with and a date you can deliver on.

If your project can’t pass this incredibly simple test, it’s not a project.

Deliver whatever it is you say you’re working on on the date you said you would, regardless of what external factors interfere. Deliver it even if you don’t think it’s perfect. You picked the date.

And as a professional, the career-making habit is this: once you set a date, never miss a date.

Now Seth was talking primarily to entrepreneurs since that is his target market.  But his words apply just as fittingly to leaders.  His message hit home for me because what he’s really speaking to is the essential importance of integrity and credibility.  As leaders, it’s important to set a date – whether it’s to achieve a milestone or target, or to get more staff to handle work overload, or to deal with a performance problem.  And the date can’t be too far into the future – it has to be a real date, one you can deliver on and one that your staff and stakeholders can live with.  And then, once you set the date, don’t miss it, even if what you deliver isn’t perfect.

Do this, and you’ll build your leadership credibility. Don’t, and well … you know!

Worth thinking about.  Do you agree?

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