"My Word Is My Bond"


My word is my bond.

Great sentiments. Or, are they a nostalgic recall from the past. How sad that recent experiences within the context of the global finance turmoil have prompted fears and reservations about verbal commitments which have been given.

No one or one sector seems to be immune to this contagim. There is evidence of it in business to business, business to consumer, personal, social and professional relationships. Disbelief, rejection and dismissal are perhaps overly strong expressions to be applied universally. Rather, the feeling among many centres on terms like qualified, conditional and tentative.

As a consequence, budgets are being recast and tolerances for variances included in forecasts.

Beyond risk, debt and entrepreneurism, the lubricants of business are trust, truth and transparency. A personal or corporate profile centred on fulfilled commitment is advantageous and optimal.



Sadly, contemporary business practitioners have become attune to identifying the symptoms where bonds given are wavering or have lapsed.

Telephone, email, fax and SMS messages which do not elicit prompt and reasonable returns are indicative of this insidious epidemic.

Calls that are “fielded by subordinates” or “intercepted by personal assistants” are not appreciated or appropriate.



Most, if not all, people in business are sensitive to just how rapidly circumstances change in the current global marketplace. Their own realities foster a sense of understanding.

Fundamental advantage can be achieved and maintained with a concerted effort to keep all stakeholders, external and internal, fully informed. Personal standings are enhanced.



The philosophies of the former President of the International Telephone and Telecommunications Group (ITT), operators of Sheraton Hotels, Avis Rent-a-Car and a number of Telcos in the 1960's and 1970's have heightened relevance today.

Harold Geneen, subscribed to the belief and importance of ”the Doctrine of No Surprises” .

Open, two-way channels of communications promote confidence, stability and valued substantial lead-times (during which remedial actions are possible.)

The message is: “Tell it to me and tell it to me straight”.



Truth is an interesting concept. It generally resides in widely held and accepted beliefs.

Facts are easier to address and to share. Moreover, it is from facts that truths emerge.

Stakeholders appreciate and value the sharing of facts. It genuinely empowers them.

Some facts are unwelcome, unwanted and hard to handle. However, there are no “true facts”, or “soft facts”, just like there are not “half truths”.

Sharing facts, often in confidential and discreet settings enable the formulation, development and acceptance of new truths.

The lesson is: People can and do respond, if and when you respect their integrity by the sharing of facts. In most cases, everything is then negotiable.



In these complex times, there is understanding. The 2009 global economy and marketplace is a whole new world. Indeed, it has no precedence.

The new context does often, understandably and appropriately, impact on the content.

A bond is an integrating and mutually beneficial force. A clear comprehension that one wants to do business enables negotiations to begin and to be concluded on the specific shape and contour of the context and content.

So, start early, communicate and maintain the flow, to enable others to appreciate the true value of the phrase:

“My word is my bond”