The Promise Doctrine

What was the last promise you made?

It probably wasn’t more than a few days ago, if not just this morning – whether to a co-worker, family member, or yourself, possibly about what you were going to do today.

If we make promises that often, then shouldn’t we take a closer look at how they impact our lives, and learn how to manage them more effectively?

That’s what The Promise Doctrine by Craig and Jason Womack will do for you.

If you think about the people in your life who consistently do what they say they’re going to do, when they say they’re going to do it, those you can always count on to keep their word, it might be a short list.  But think about the respect you have for these people and what they have accomplished in life.  The Promise Doctrine will help you become one of those people – because instead of just reading it, you have to write in it, and when you write in it, you start to live it.  This book is quite different than most. With areas to write in, and pages that fold out, it’s more of a book that you experience than just read.  Having a pen with you while you read is a requirement.  The subtitle is a clear description: “A guidebook and system for consistently delivering on your promises!

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

The Central Principle

"Relationships, families, businesses and organizations are defined by the promises people keep, break, and renegotiate."
- The Promise Doctrine, page 10

What the authors, Craig and Jason (father and son), discovered over their years of coaching, consulting, and training was that success for companies and individuals is based on one central principle:

Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it.

It seems simple, but this philosophy encourages achievement, honesty, and teamwork in all areas of life and work, because it is based on personal responsibility.  Most failures or breakdowns in quality, service, or performance can be traced to someone not taking personal responsibility for keeping a promise, whether to themselves or others.  It is the foundation of achievement.  And it depends upon the fusion of planning and doing.  So to help you move forward, this book cannot be read without a pen in hand.  The authors do all they can to help you make commitments while you’re reading so you can get started on your “Promise Journey”.

“The two most important words (translated into any language) in relation to personal responsibility are: I promise.”

Important words indeed.  So, careful attention to when, where, and how you use them should be a major focus in your life. The Promise Doctrine will guide you through understanding why promises are important, offer some examples, but more importantly, help you make and keep the promises that are important in your life (in other words, all of them).

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Close the Gap

"Your personal and professional success is directly proportional to your ability to make and keep your promises."
- The Promise Doctrine, page 34

The authors call it “gap management” when they work with others to close the gap between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’. “Many times people know what they should be doing, but for some reason (motivation, procrastination, limited resources, etc.) they don’t actually get around to it.” It usually comes down to a false perception of the final outcome and the largeness of it, that it is so distant or grand that we couldn’t  possibly get there, so we fail to even start. Breaking goals down into a string of smaller promises will move you in your desired direction, continually making progress.  This applies to specific goals or life in general.

Use the tools that are available to help you manage your promises, but take inventory and simplify where possible.  Creating good habits is the key to making significant change, and the main habit of the Promise Doctrine is to take personal responsibility.

“With the power of the right promises made and kept, we improve the journey that our lives take, the personal relationships that we form, and the quality of our work.”

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

The Promise Doctrine

"If you have been looking for the ‘key’ to personal and professional success, here it is: Make important promises and keep them."
- The Promise Doctrine, page 13

Craig and Jason explain the six elements of the Promise Doctrine as: Promise, Perform, Hurdles, Renegotiate, Trust, Celebrate.

Promise – Be absolutely clear about what you are promising to do, and by when.  For bigger promises that require a project, it helps to write down and track progress on milestones.

Perform – Assess your performance and develop strategies to improve.  Developing a habit of purposeful practice will increase your ability and results. Learn as much as possible to improve your strategies and approach.  There are many good books available (especially on Actionable Books!)

Hurdles – When obstacles arise, change your perspective of the situation and don’t automatically see a failure, but an opportunity to take proactive steps and overcome the hurdle.  Time mismanagement and miscommunication are two of the major self-imposed hurdles.  Asking for help is okay.

Renegotiate – Being aware of your capabilities is the key for knowing when it is necessary to renegotiate your promises. When necessary, renegotiating the agreements you make is as important as promise making.

Trust – Show up on time and be prepared. The more you keep your word, even for the little things (actually, especially for the little things), the more trust you build, and your relationships strengthen.   Can you make the phrase “Count on me” belong to you?

Celebrate – Take time to party! Or whatever you do to recognize that you’ve made progress.  Realizing how far you’ve come creates momentum to go even farther.  Dream big to get energized. Don’t wait to acknowledge your achievements.

If you want to just read something, pick up another book, but if you’re ready to improve your performance, reliability, trustworthiness, relationships, and be known as someone people can count on, then use the system outlined in The Promise Doctrine to produce the new you.  Good luck!

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Rex Williams

ABOUT Rex Williams

I'm a curious connector of people and ideas. I crave learning new things and invoking a creative twist to my methods. By day, I work as an engineer, general problem solver (and recently video producer) at the Boeing company as I fight the status quo and start movements, but after work I hang out with entrepreneur and rabble-rouser types online (like this group...
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