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Rach Smith
Rach Smith

Posted on • Originally published at on

Do what you say you're going to do

If you want to impress people you work with/for, do what you say you're going to do. Be reliable and deliver what you have promised (almost) every time.

The key to achieving this isn't to hustle and crush it week upon week - It's becoming adept at managing expectations.

Do what you say you're going to do.

can also be phrased as:

Only say you're going to do something you know you can do.

People get this backwards and think that other people are impressed by how much work they promise or intend to do. They are not. They remember what you delivered, or annoyingly, what you failed to deliver.

CodePen has a flat structure. We define our goals as a team but the individual work people do on a day-to-day basis is self-directed. Each week we have a meeting where we essentially commit to doing something in the following week. I am conservative with my commitments. I leave space for hitting a roadblock or two at work or a daycare emergency at home. Why? So I can show up the following week and say I did what I said I was going to do.

What if you're not sure if you can do something, but you'd like to give it a try? Communicate that. I use these words all the time in discussions with my coworkers: "I'm not sure if that is possible, but I'll try to make it happen". Then after I'll either report that I made it work or explain how I tried to make it work. I promised to try. I delivered on my promise.

Top comments (3)

szabgab profile image
Gabor Szabo

You did not exactly say that, but I wanted to comment that what you are suggesting sounds like "Underpromise and overdeliver". I wanted to find where this quote comes from. However, I bumped into an article saying that 'Underpromise and Overdeliver' Is Terrible Advice

That surprised me too.

rachsmith profile image
Rach Smith

yeah. I understand the criticisms with “underpromise and overdeliver”, and that’s not really what I’m advocating for. If you continually overdeliver way more than promised, that is also not doing what you said you would do. I’m more in the camp of “promise and deliver” 😆

vjnvisakh profile image
Visakh Vijayan

nice one