Today I spoke with a business owner who has had to let two employees go because they failed to keep their commitments. Not only did they not keep their promises, they didn’t communicate the breakdown in advance or as soon as they were aware of it.

What systems do you have in place to be sure prior to making agreements that you will have the capacity to keep your commitments? How do you assure that the information you gain about the capacity needed is accurate and reliable?

When the work required to fulfill a promise seems beyond your capacity, how do you manage your fixed capacity in order to meet your commitment?

Over decades of business experience, like most people I’ve found myself stretched beyond capacity at times. It has taught me to be more careful to assess capacity.

In those cases, I had to revoke promises and manage the consequences to the customer to maintain relationships. I’ve transferred work to others in order to keep my promises. I’ve made counteroffers, and sometimes those work for both me and the customer. And when I could I’ve deferred other commitments to be able to managed fixed capacity.

As you’re making promises, be sure to assess your capacity to fulfill them. This will help you be able to reliably fulfill your commitments.

And on the rare occasion that there’s a breakdown, be sure to communicate this to your customer as soon as you become aware of it. This will help you be able to maintain relationships and give you the best opportunity to reliably deliver on your promises.