servant leadership workplace-geronimo

DWYSYWD: “I promised to come. I am here.”

In my post last week, I suggested that the best leaders model DWYSYWD.*

That stands for “Do What You Say You Will Do.”

One of my favorite DWYSYWD stories comes from Geronimo, a leader among the Apache tribe in the southwestern United States during the 1800’s.

Geronimo was born in 1829. By the turn of the last century, he was living as a U.S. federal prisoner. As an old man, Geronimo agreed to tell the story of his life to Colonel S.M. Barrett.

Barrett writes:

“When [Geronimo] once gives his word, nothing will turn him from fulfilling his promise. A very striking illustration of this was furnished by him early in January, 1906 [when Geronimo was 77 years old]. He had agreed to come to my study on a certain date, but at the appointed hour the interpreter came alone, and said that Geronimo was very sick with cold and fever.

He had come to tell me that we must appoint another date, as he feared the old warrior had an attack of pneumonia. It was a cold day and the interpreter drew a chair up to the grate to warm himself after the exposure of the long ride.

Just as he was seating himself he looked out of the window, then rose quickly, and without speaking pointed to a rapidly moving object coming our way. In a moment I recognized the old chief riding furiously (evidently trying to arrive as soon as the interpreter did), his horse flecked with foam and reeling from exhaustion. Dismounting he came in and said in a hoarse whisper, I promised to come. I am here.”

I explained to him that I had not expected him to come on such a stormy day, and that in his physical condition he must not try to work. He stood for some time, and then without speaking left the room, re-mounted his tired pony, and with bowed head faced ten long miles of cold north wind— he had kept his promise.”

What do you think? Do your favorite leaders model DWYSYWD? Any stories to share?

Let us know.


As always, we appreciate your views.


* See what you think: “Note to New Year’s Resolvers: DWYSYWD”