Deep down do you know that you're not reliable enough? Deep down do you know that you realize you don't follow through with everything consistently? Perhaps you know that you say one thing, but then often do another. Well, did you know that those who have incredible reliability are 15 times more likely to be high performing?
This is research that comes out of the book, The CEO Next Door, which is a fantastic book on leadership and the key behaviors that create and form world-class leaders, all of which are learnable, by the way. Today, we're going to do a deep dive on how to become more reliable, how to deliver consistently. Because we all know deep down inside that that is key to our success. Not just for ourselves, but for those around us as well, especially if we're in a leadership or management position.
Hi. My name is Eric Partaker, and I help CEOs, entrepreneurs, leaders, managers, and individuals achieve their best in whatever it is that they're doing. One of the key ingredients for that is helping them become more reliable for both themselves and the people that they're serving. Today, we're going to go through eight ways in which you can develop your reliability.
Number one is all about setting realistic expectations. You do not want to be setting yourself up for failure right out of the starting gates. There's a degree of discomfort, of course, that we need to push into. But we can't be pushing so far ahead of what we're able to achieve that we're just going to immediately fail. We have to make sure that our expectations are realistic, and that occurs right at the start. So often I see teams, CEOs, leaders, individuals who set all these great goals at the beginning of, say, a quarter and they don't take the time to ask themselves: is this realistic? Are we actually going to be able to achieve this?
I'm not saying that you shouldn't be stretching yourself. But too often, we just set things that are completely unrealistic. They make us feel bad. We fail. We then take an attack from a re reliability point of view, and then others stop trusting us. We stop trusting ourselves. And that has this really negative obviously spiral downward effect on everything that we're doing.
Number two. This might sound like a simple one, but it's super important. Be on time for your meetings and calls. Today, in the last week, how many times were you on time versus not on time? When you're not on time for other people, for meetings or calls, it just sends a message to them that you can't be fully depended on. That your reliability is in question. And then that will have a ricochet effect on their perception of other things that you're doing, but it will also just hurt the performance or the result that you're trying to drive by meeting with the group that you're meeting with, because you're frankly giving yourself less time if you're showing up late. Think about that. How often are you showing up late for meetings or phone calls, and can you become a bit more on time?
Number three, make your commitments clear. Too often once again when we're in meetings and different things are being discussed, they're just left as thoughts, and they're not actually translated into, "Well, what's the action here? What's the task? Who's the owner? What's the deadline?" And that isn't even being recorded anywhere. All that happens is that we have lots of great ideas, but no great results being generated. So, make your commitments loud and clear within your meetings, be noting those things down, and then just get into the habit of asking, "Okay. What are we doing exactly? Who is doing it? And by when?"
Number four. This has been a massive, massive, positive impact on my personal reliability, and that's the use of a planner. You'll find tons of daily planners out there. Try some. Pick one. But just use one. There's a magic that happens when we're putting pen to paper, and it's been shown to help us both learn things better and also remember things better, as opposed to using a computer or recording things on our phone. Now, I use a planner to improve my reliability, because on a weekly basis I use it to review the previous week that's just passed, as well as plan out the week to come.
But I also use it to make sure that I know what are the top three things that I'm doing on a daily basis, and where am I going to be doing those things. Map back to the things that I know that I should be doing for the week or the things that I've promised to other people. And then throughout the course of a day, I also use a planner to capture any actions, or to-dos, or commitments that arise from my interactions, or thoughts, or dealings with other people. The use of a planner is a massive, massive tool that can dramatically improve your personal reliability.
Number five. We have to be aware of our mood, our words, and our actions, because that can have a negative effect on others and also make them begin to question our reliability. I'll give you an example. I had a client once years ago, and she had received on her 360 feedback ... the feedback that others did not view her to be very reliable, very consistent. She was shocked to hear this. She couldn't understand it when I brought it up to her. I said, "Does that surprise you?" And she said, "Out of all the things on my feedback, that one thing there, I just don't get. I don't even know where that's coming from."
Now, nine sessions into our coaching engagement, six of those sessions happened. Three of them were canceled, and she canceled them on the morning of the session. When I went back to her and I said, "Do you think that that might be an example of where people could question your reliability, or your ability to deliver consistently if you suddenly cancel contracts or agreements right at the last minute?" And suddenly that created a bit of a light bulb moment in her mind that she realized that, "Oh, okay." So, there's lots of factors involved when people create a reliability assessment of us, and one of those things is showing up on time as we've discussed, or just showing up to begin with with the commitments that you've made with others.
Don't be that person that devalues someone else's time so much that you'll just cancel in that last moment. If you are doing that, question whether you should have been scheduling the meeting to begin with. Maybe you're just overcommitting. But then also question: does that send a good message out to those that you're interacting with? Does that represent the best of you? And do you think that that's really helping you in your quest to become a bit more reliable, a bit more dependable as a person?
Number six. We need to know what throws us off our game, because it's not like we get started on something and things are going to happen with no obstacles coming in our way, or with nothing that we didn't expect suddenly appear. One of my favorite quotes is Mike Tyson: "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." And we're all taking punches in the mouth throughout the course of a day figuratively speaking. Things that we don't expect that keep popping up. But we should also take into account what are the typical things that happened that throw us out of whack?
For me, if I don't get a good night's sleep, that's going to have an impact on my reliability. Because I know that's going to impact my mood. I know it's going to impact my drive and motivation, and so I make sure that I monitor that. That I'm always protecting my sleep. I also know that if I don't properly plan things out, I'll just be hanging on to the back of the day as if it's a train and not properly in the driver's seat on it. I take that into account as well preemptively. I know that if I don't do these things, protect my sleep, make sure things are properly planned that it can throw me off course, and that I'll be less likely to handle the unexpected. So, really know what throws you off your game and see if you can develop a preemptive action that will help you counter that before it happens or in the moment when it happens.
Number seven. Understand what other people are doing and what you can do to help. This is a tremendous reliability booster. People really view you as far more dependable if you're taking the time to understand: what is it that you're working on? What are your challenges or issues? Is there anything I can help with there? Is anything I can help you think through? Is there anything that I could help you perhaps delegate to someone else? Is there any way we can make whatever it is that you're working on a little bit less complex, a little bit more clear, a bit simpler?
When you're helping someone in this way, it increases your reliability score. Because they see you as somebody that they can depend on. Someone who can help them become more consistent. And when you're driving consistency through others, it naturally raises up your game to deliver more consistently yourself.
Last but not least, I highly encourage you to self rate your reliability daily. If this is something that you want to improve, I encourage you to simply ask this question at the end of the day: from a scale of one to 10, to what degree was I reliable today? To what degree did I follow through consistently on all the things that I said I would do? A 10 is you couldn't have possibly been more reliable. You're the most reliable person in the world. There was not a single thing that you could have done that day to make yourself deliver even more consistently than you did, to follow through with all of the actions that you had promised, to do all the things that you had set yourself the intention of doing. And then there's something less than that, obviously.
And if you can get into the habit of doing that on a daily basis, you'll become a little bit more aware of the areas in which you aren't being reliable, and you'll start closing that gap over time. I hope you've enjoyed that eight ways in which you can become more reliable. And remember those who score high in reliability are 15 times more likely to be high performing.