It’s not a leadership principle most would subscribe to; in fact I’m not sure it’s a leadership principle at all….but it makes sense to me most of the time:
Be confident enough to under-promise and over-deliver.
Lebron James reminded me of this last night as his much-anticipated return to Cleveland fizzled with a mediocre performance and a loss for the Cavs. Now, to be fair, Lebron wasn’t entirely responsible for the hype, but he certainly added to it with antics like his Twitter campaign asking followers whether or not they wanted his return to be accompanied by his trademark chalk-dust toss (95% of his followers said yes).
Most leaders like hype…they like to get people excited about their vision and rally the troops to take the next mountain.
Youth workers do this stuff all the time:
“This summer camp is going to change your life!”
“I want to tell you the funniest story ever!”
“Bring a friend to this event…I promise you that you won’t regret it!”
“I believe we can change the destiny of the continent of Africa with this missions project!”
How often have our deliverables failed to measure up to our promises on the front end? For me, more times than I car to admit.
I don’t know how often, or in what areas, you should become comfortable under-promising and over-delivering instead of the other way around….I just know it’s worth thinking about once in a while.