E-News - Keeping Your Word

Keeping Your Word

How important is it for you to keep your word? Although this might sound like an old-fashioned concept in today's busy age, when things can change in a millisecond, keeping your word will never go out of style. This is true in our business as well as our personal lives, but what is your word, and what does it mean to actually keep it?

Simply put, your word is any commitment you make to another person, and keeping it is honoring that commitment. I recently experienced the downside of this in a personal matter. Our miniature schnauzer, our beloved pet of fifteen years old, is coming into the sunset of his life; in fact, if he doesn't die naturally, his physical condition will require us to do the merciful thing and have him put to sleep.

In the face of this tough realization, I have been thinking of what pet we can next invite into our home. I had German shepherds growing up, so I recently began a search for one.

Happy Dog

Not wanting to deal with housebreaking and other puppy issues, and wanting to find an animal that is already used to kids, I searched for months and finally found the perfect dog. He was one year old, had already been through obedience training, was very smart, and didn't seem to mind being around children.

The former owner was getting married and had to downsize when she merged into her new husband's life, so she had to find a good home for Major. I asked many questions, and she interviewed me to ensure that Major would be loved and well taken care of in our household. I sent her pictures of my family, my home, and my daughter, who was really looking forward to getting to know our new furry friend.

We agreed on a price, and I even offered to repay her for accessories and things she had bought for the dog. I specifically asked if she would hold him for me, and she was so happy to find such a good home for him that she assured me she would hold him for us with a 50 percent deposit, which I promptly sent to her.

She lived about five hours away, so I planned a day off and a trip that included my daughter. A few days before we were going to leave, we purchased crates, toys, collars, a new leash, and other items for Major, to make him feel comfortable and give him all he would need.

In considering bringing a German shepherd into our lives, I looked into Amish-made kennel doghouses, a nice, insulated house and a small kennel for the dog to run around in to get some fresh air. The week before we left to visit Major's house, I contacted the kennel-makers and ordered one for him.

One day before my daughter and I were set to leave, I received a message from the fiancé of the lady who had agreed to sell Major to me, stating that his bride-to-be had had a change of heart and was now going to keep the dog. When I tried to call back for a better understanding of the situation, my calls went straight to voicemail. Needless to say, I was bummed out, and to make matters worse, I had to break the news to my daughter.

In the end, we both learned a good lesson of the importance of keeping your word, no matter what. I'm in the process of looking for another dog, and we'll get through this, but the dog's owner failed to keep her word, and the trickle-down effects of that range from emotional distress for me and my family to practical inconveniences for the kennel-makers, to all sorts of other issues.

In regard to business, I could come up with far more than a few examples of signed contracts gone awry, deposit refund requests, and cancellations when someone finds what they think is a better deal, even after they've signed by the X and the wheels are already in motion. In business and in life, your word is your bond, and others should be able to count on it. It's called integrity, doing what you say you will do when you say you will do it.

The bottom line? Don't be a dirty dog! Meet your commitments, honor your obligations, and, simply, always keep your word or don't give it in the first place.

Carry On!

Greg McAfee
Greg McAfee
HVAC Business Consultant