The “Can’t Fail” Way to Success


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Under-promise and over-deliver

Adrian Swinscoe writes an interesting post

His bank found fraud on his card and sent him a new one.  They told him it would take a working week to get it to him, but then delivered it in 2 days.  Banks are not known for their customer service.  They usually promise little and deliver less.

So he posed a question:

Should we under-promise and over-deliver?

Is this a new strategy being tried out by his bank?

We are always told that we should under-promise and over-deliver, it is good for our reputations.  Should organisations do the same thing?

It isn’t a difficult strategy, provides buckets full of operational wriggle room and you always come up smelling of roses.

What is not to like?

Do your customers like it?

How does it feel to do business with an organisation that constantly over-delivers?

  • If you knew the project you sponsored was going to deliver 2 months early and £200k under budget would you have made the same decisions?
  • If you knew that the train you are about to catch usually arrives 20 minutes ahead of time would you have left 20 minutes later?
  • If the flowers you ordered for mother’s day arrived 2 days early at half the price would she be delighted?

Do your employees like it?

Do your employees enjoy…

  • Low balling their promises and coasting along?
  • Never stretching themselves or learning anything new?
  • Do soft goals make for better managers?

The real secret to success

Is to over-promise and then deliver, consistently, every single time.   Unfortunately that strategy is a bit more like hard work.

And you risk fluffing it.  Which would never do, particularly if you work for a bank.

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broken promises

Read another opinion

Image by Katie Tegtmeyer

Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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