Dependability can be defined as fulfilling commitments even in the face of difficulty. The contrast to dependability is inconsistency.
Dependability is central to the working of any organization or community. Only when we can rely on our neighbors or our team members to do what is expected can we operate in confidence. If we must consistently worry that others will fail to be dependable, we will be tentative and timid. We will feel compelled to look over our shoulder and double check everything.
Few other sports require the planning and coordination that an offensive play in American football requires. Each of the 11 individuals on the field must execute their job with precision for the play to have any chance at success. Often successful plays are purely accidents; however, a long pass requires dependability from both the passer and the receiver. With 11 people trying to stop them, the quarterback must throw the ball to a small area at a precise time and the receiver must get to that spot and make the catch. Many things can go wrong, but when both players are dependable, the play looks almost effortless. We all know it isn’t that simple. Dependable people execute well.
However, even dependable people will fail. But by communicating accurately, openly, and as early as possible, trust and confidence can be restored. Instead of spinning the truth, getting the unvarnished truth out into the open as quickly as possible, helps builds dependability.
“Failing well” requires you to work to make things right. I spent several years in the freight business. Before there were computers or GPS in trucks, it seemed like something was late all the time. As the boss, I was often the last to know that a truck was not where it was supposed to be. It was up to me to find the driver and the load.
Even the most dependable drivers weren’t always on time. But we knew we could count on them to get where they needed to go. They would plan ahead, leave on time, and if necessary, they would stop and call to let us know if something came up.
Managing a trucking company was hard work, but dependable drivers energized me. Dependable people bring life to an organization and even when they make a mistake, they make things right in a way that inspires and elevates others. Dependability creates energy for success in a business, a family and a community.