We’ve done great things as a society because we are able to collaborate. Almost no one is individually able to build any of the things we have around. It’s only because we can connect and work with each other, that, at scale, we are able to produce wonders.
But in order to collaborate, we need trust. And at a micro level, we need reliability.
Reliability, for human beings, means that we can predict with a high probability that they’ll produce a certain outcome or perform a certain action. Without it, our plans collapse.
Reliability is about doing what you say.
Reliability is about being consistent.
Reliability is about being on time.
Reliability is about admitting when something is not going to work out.
Reliability is two-fold: first you must send signals about some future outcome based on your actions and second, you must deliver on those promises.
Just like reputation, it takes time to build, and just a few seconds to destroy.
When you’re late at a meeting without pre-notice (and apologies).
When you’re over-promising and under-delivering.
When you keep information in closed doors and keep your collaborators in the dark.
When you’re too proud to say that plans have changed.
When you’re unpredictable and can’t keep your words.
People won’t often say anything to you. But believe me, they’ll remember.