“Make your word your bond. If you don’t honor what you say, neither will anybody else.”

Keep promises to your customerI recently had a horrible experience with a surgeon who told me I needed knee replacement surgery, and that his assistant would call me four days later to schedule me into the hospital and answer my questions. This surgery was going to derail me from my normal schedule for a at least six weeks, and require me to get extra assistance to go about my normal business, so I was anxious to know when the surgery would be scheduled.

Four days came and went, and I did not hear from his assistant. I called and left a message and got no return call. More days came and went without a call and I left another message and got no return call.

Finally on the tenth day, I looked up his practice’s Facebook page during a sleepless night when I was worrying about the surgery, and I wrote a post saying I had lost faith in this surgeon because his office did not keep its word.

I had lost complete faith in him and, frankly, his entire practice. Regardless of his abilities in the operating room, the fact that his assistant did not call me as promised, and the fact that she neglected to return my voice mail messages negated any of his abilities as a surgeon. When his assistant didn’t call me as promised, my mind immediately went to all the worst possible things that could happen since they didn’t have their act together.

Would he also tell me that someone would bring my pain medication after the surgery, and oops, they would forget to bring it while I was writhing in pain?

Would they promise to send a physical therapist to start me on the road to recovery but would that person forget to come, too?

There are certain professionals who need to be precise about their business and surgeons are among them. The ability to make a phone call on the promised day is part of the precision of their business promise, which makes up their personal and professional reputation, or brand.

I have always thought of a brand as a unique promise of value, and the value that a surgeon promises is to make you healthy again. It starts with getting your surgery scheduled so he can begin the process. This particular surgeon wasn’t even able to get to the first step, so I decided I needed to go elsewhere. I was disappointed because I had waited a long time for the appointment and spent a lot of time filling out all the paperwork and spent money for the medical fees. I was also in pain and had been missing out on a lot of the activities I enjoy, like skiing, snowshoeing and spinning classes.

Whether you are a hairdresser who has a commitment to do your client’s hair on the first Wednesday of every month, or a real estate broker who has promised to show a house for sale at a certain time, showing up at the promised time is the first step toward keeping your promise. A strong personal brand is one that keeps its word to the people who are counting on him or her for services.

I personally try to be someone who does what I say I will do. If for some reason I cannot, I try to let the other person know just as soon as possible and provide a good reason why I cannot show up at the appointed time.

How about you?

Do you do what you say you will do?

Do you keep your promises?

Would people describe you as a trustworthy personal brand?

In my opinion, being someone who does what you say you will do is one of the most important character traits a person can have, and will take you a long way in life and in your career.