Note to New Year’s Resolvers: DWYSYWD

‘Tis the season of New Year’s resolutions.

Which prompts me to write this note to New Year’s resolvers: DWYSYWD.

I am quick to add, this is mainly a note to myself.

DWYSYWD. It means “Do What You Say You Will Do.”

The term was coined by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, best-selling authors of The Leadership Challenge.

Kouzes explains:

“Over these last 26 years we’ve asked people around the world to answer the question, “What do you look for and admire in a leader, someone whose direction you would willingly follow?” (The key word in this question is willingly!) What we’ve found in our investigation of admired leader qualities is that, more than anything, people want leaders who are credible.

And, what is credibility behaviorally? How do you know it when you see it?  When we ask these questions, the responses we get are essentially the same, regardless of how they are phrased. Credible leaders walk the talk, practice what they preach, are consistent in word and deed, put their money where their mouth is, and follow through on promises. To become a credible leader you must Do What You Say You Will Do, or DWYSYWD for short.”

Poor leaders don’t do what they say they will do for lots of reasons, some bad (overpromising, disorganization, poor prioritization) and some really bad (carelessness, arbitrariness, dishonesty).

The best leaders, on the other hand – the servant-leaders – model DWYSYWD.

Which leads me to my personal New Year’s resolution for 2017: I resolve to be better at doing what I say I will do.

I want to be a better leader. I know I can improve in this area. And I have some practical ways – some tools and techniques – that I plan to test to see if they help. I will report back to you on my progress.

In the meantime, do you have any suggestions on ways one can improve at DWYSYWD? What do you think?

Let us know.


As always, we appreciate your views.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017!