Don’t Ever Promise More Than You Can Deliver But Always Deliver More – Lou Holtz

Dont Ever Promise:

6“Don’t Ever Promise More Than You Can Deliver But Always Deliver More Than You Promise – Lou Holtz”

A promise is a word, an assurance or a declaration that something is going to happen and most times it means that we are going to make that something happen. Needless to say, a person’s word speaks a lot about him – the depth of his personality, how much he respects his commitments, his responsibility and the way he looks at fulfilling them. Coming from an entrepreneurial domain, I kinda relate more to this quote since this was one thing which constantly kept ringing on my mind. And this is one advice I have constantly received and actually liked – Do more than that is expected out of you. And the quote kinda exemplifies the same. Now you know why I say there is something here that I can relate to. 

The External Appearance

The first time I heard this quote, the first question that popped on my mind was


I mean if I am paid to do a certain amount of job and my promotions are dependent on that or my increments are dependent on that, why should I do the extra job. And even if I do that, I would not be recognised and even if I am recognised, I will be labelled the boss’ pet and kinda will have to miss out on my peer group.

And these points are absolutely fair, why do an extra job without the promise of any incentive or advancement?

Then someone really sat me down and explained how it works and I think from that day I have a new found respect for this quote and the promise or the commitment we give someone.

The Extra Mile

Doing something extra or that something more tells how much this thing means to us, it conveys a message as to how much the person or their word or their work means to us. Doing that extra bit tells people how committed we are to something and how well in tune we are with the broad idea or morale of it, especially in a working scenario.

Saying that promise less than you do doesn’t really mean that we are promoting fake modesty. We would be the last to do that. But what we are saying is that no one is really going to complain if you do that extra work. But the moment you fall short of the promise, even though that was never really expected out of you, people are still going to hold you for your promise. Because, it was owing to this promise that they would have made further commitments and if this doesn’t happen, the way they lose face sometimes will not offer a chance for redemption at all.

In other words, if there is a decision or an outcome dependent on ours, it becomes our bare necessity and responsibility to make sure that we promise what we are really sure of and make certain that we deliver it beyond doubt. And if we think we can add something more to it, we can always say that we could try it out and add if that works. Most people seem to be in a hurry to please the boss and more often than not, any request comes with a yes without a further thought on the consequences. They appear to think that saying NO is a horrible thing and people will not appreciate it.

They may be right in a way, but the question is not just about saying no or a yes, the work we do and the commitment we honour goes a much longer way than just the word. And for these words to have any meaning, for these promises to make some sense, we better do something about them and make sure that they are delivered, or else they just become empty words in thin air waiting to vanish in a poof! 

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  1. So, rightfully explained. That’s how it should be Vinay! We shouldn’t promise more than our abilities to avoid unwanted expectations that lead to despair. Instead, we can certainly take a lead in trying out best to deliver more than enough for those surprisingly smiling faces. 🙂

  2. I totally agree with your synopsis on doing that a lil bit extra effort on fulfilling the promises we make…I think its better to avoid promising and instead do what you can do with all the commitment. This way atleast we know e aren’t failing to fulfill something we agreed upon.. 🙂

  3. I think today the thought is under commit and over deliver. This is also leading to poor outcome and sometimes a person who put that little extra wins. I think one should commit to their potential and deliver and continuously bench mark and raise the bar

  4. That extra effort always makes other people to trust you. Everybody loves that ‘extra’ 😛 …

    Jokes apart, it’s easier said than done… 🙂