Promises and Blessings is a phenomena that is eroding away from management. The management of the very distant past used to work without legal papers to make decisions on a case. The deal was often based on an agreement or discussion that was sealed by a promise or a blessing. If ever there was an issue to the deal it was highly likely the complainant was most disturb that the promise from an individual was not genuine or the blessing from management to proceed a task was insincere.
A PROMISE is a simple declaration of assurance that one will do something or that a thing will happen. It is the WORD that brings actually about accountability and can impact one emotionally if the promise if not obeyed or implemented accordingly. By offering a promise orally or in writing it sets an expectation from the receiver and binds the maker of the promise to the receiver. A promise given allows the receiver to set expectations and make the maker responsible and forever guilty as charged. A promise can set the premise for a commitment or a vow by enshrining a trust between parties that all will be well. Promises give hope.
A promise given by an organisation to a customer can create a uniqueness to their brand thereby setting a brand loyalty. This promise drives an emotive force that can form a high value and belief which will place those who work for purpose based organisations for example, nonprofits, foundations and social enterprises on the high moral ground. A promise to management and board is a pledge the maker makes to satisfy the concerns of the customer (within or outside the organisation). For any promise to deliver, the maker of the promise must make the commitment as long as the receiver has delivered.
Promises help management and board to engage and retain employees who are of high potential. Management and board must understand that the promise they make is what will motivate their team and organisation to corporate. The maker must understand that when a promise is made it is understood that there is an alignment to an objective and that there is no thought of an assumption. A fragmented workforce can be created to be more engaging and initiative by offering reliable and relevant promises that will create a sense of community empowerment and ownership thereby creating impact on the ground.
More often promises in today’s terms are seen in a legalistic perspective, for instance having specific clauses in a contract instead of the actual content of the discussion that has a life of its own. A derailed promise is seen to be something not honoured based on what was expressed in writing.
There are three things indicated below that management and the board should know when making a promise:
1. The Commitment
This phase typically starts when the customer requests something from the provider. The two parties will have different takes on what should be done to fulfil the request, why, how quickly it can be done, and which resources should be used. Because of divergent views—across divisions, companies, countries, and languages—people often end up talking past one another. The customer and the provider must therefore sit down and explore the fundamental questions of coordinated effort for example, What do you mean? Do you understand what I mean? What should I do? What will you do? Who else should we talk to?
2. The Execution
The maker executes on the promise. Conversations between parties is more critical than ever during the time of execution. Even well-crafted promises can be fragile, susceptible to change or in the broader business context can prompt a reshuffle of priorities and allocation of resources. In light of such shifts, the customer and the maker must continue to interpret and reinterpret the promise. Indeed, if the maker then realises he/she cannot satisfy the promise made to the customer, an immediate renegotiation to the terms of delivery is critical. Likewise, the customer is obliged to initiate renegotiations if the priorities or circumstances have changed in ways that affect what was expected by the maker. This phase ends when the maker declares the promise executed.
3. Making the loop
The customer publicly declares that the maker has delivered the goods (or failed to do so). Closing the loop gives the customer and maker a chance to offer each other feedback on how they could work more effectively in the future, thereby building continuous improvement into the quality of other promises they make.
Note that the customer and the receiver must come not only to a meeting of minds but also to a common purpose. A maker may be reluctant to enter into a commitment for good reasons—by keeping options open. It’s critical that conversations about what to do go hand in hand with discussions about why it matters for both sides.
BLESSINGS on the other hand is connoted with benediction, an invocation or even a consecration. There is an implication that a blessing is an offer of sanction and support from a supreme force. However if we actually look at it from a board perspective it can be viewed very differently. A simple blessing from the superiors of a team before one embarks on a difficult task is seen to be a form of sanction or support. It transects a sense of mercy and devotion to the customer such the link becomes special and the power to execute is emotive and from the heart.
Issues arise when a blessing if requested or given is then seen to be a curse. When this happens one looks at the event or activity as a bad omen evoked onto oneself. In any case those who are executing the job do seek the blessings of their superiors because the strong view that it gives a sanction and support to the execution of the work through trouble times. This is the connection. To overcome the trials and tribulation of one’s work can be seen to have been a blessing. This is a powerful phenomena that will impact the customer who has received a promise from the maker.
Being grateful is a measure of ones idea that they have received blessings. A grateful heart can recognise blessings in everything and an ungrateful heart never recognises any blessing. Gratitude is one of the most essential human virtues for real inner prosperity and inner happiness and especially when management and board wants to gel the workforce together to be formidable within an organisation.
To seek blessings from your seniors is to receive a shower of respect and thereby management and board must know that giving their blessing will transform the inner strength, wisdom, hope and desire for success for an individual in the team. Whatever comes from the offering of management and board as blessings must be a conscious intention such the result will be impactful to people and planet positively.
I often wonder why we look at our fellow human beings as robots when it comes offering advise of how to solve problems. Where is the thinking that will tune us differently from a robot. I recognise we do need a reboot and recharge but not in the same manner a computer or mobile phone needs it. We are human beings and we must care for people and planet. Where is the subtle elements to management being discussed these days. Much is being discussed about what to do to get the result but little is done to talk about what we can for another person. I am guilty as charged myself. Everything seems so mechanical. Therefore, writing this article was a huge relearn for me as I wanted to illustrate the power of the Promises and Blessings in whatever form it takes and why just saying, “I wish you well with all my heart” can make someone transform to be the person and something more.
1. Scott Deming (Wiley 2007) [https://www.amanet.org/articles/the-power-of-keeping-promises-how-to-create-customers-for-life/]
2. Harvard Business Review, April 2017. [https://hbr.org/2007/04/promise-based-management-the-essence-of-execution]
3. Radhanath Swami, Power of Blessing by HH Radhanath, HG Shyamsundar Prabhu and HG Mahamaya Mataji. [https://www.radhanathswami.net/yearwise/2009/power-of-blessings-by-hh-radhanath-swami-hg-shyamsundar-prabhu-and-hg-mahamaya-mataji]
This article was written based on his own views and from several notable authors cited in the bibliography. The trigger to write this article stemmed from an episode when Dr Sudeep realised that the relationship between the superior and the staff can only achieve greatness if one talks to the heart – this gave me meaning to why promises and blessings which is enshrined in Eastern work culture and ethics is vital to any organisations success especially for those who are working for people and planet.
PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE
It is intended that the reader receives benefit from understanding the authors perspective associated with Promises and Blessings: A Forgotten Management and Board Trait and is now able to form an argument for or against the notion if the author does add value to the management and boards thinking in todays’ context.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Sudeep Mohandas is the Co-Founder/Managing Director of I First International (www.ifirstinternational.com)