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Word of Honor



Every time I spend time in Sicily, I get a better understanding of why I am the way I am and I also get a glimpse of a different kind of living, one that is slowly but surely staying in the past.


I can bet that I could go out to run errands in my dad's town, and even if he hasn't lived there in 60 years, I could get by without money. Mind you, I have at least three uncles and aunts that were educators all their lives, and hence are quite known and very respected in town. Luckily for me, and mostly based on a family's reputation of honesty and settling its bills, I can move around town with an ease that I wished I had back in Miami. A different type of interaction altogether. The idea of 'Word of Honor' working at its best, a model where the best collateral you have is not money but your track record of doing what you said you would do. A complete congruence between words and actions. Break that trust and you are done. No do-overs, Period.


This brings me to why I am making this reflection. I don't know about you, but lately I feel that more and more people are making empty promises. They say they will do something, only to then unapologetically saying they couldn't. Not big deal. At work, people make commitments, schedule meetings, calls, etc and then last minute you get a text with a one liner cancellation. A couple of months back I was in the process of interviewing field personnel for my company, I have never been so stood up in my entire life. For every 10 interviews that were scheduled, only 4 would show up on average. The rest, not even a note of apology after having confirmed the interview. One candidate even stood me up twice!


Why do we say we will do things and then fail to do them? Why is this becoming the norm and not the exception? Oh, I know! Because we feel protected by the idea that "everybody does it..." And yet, we should hold each other accountable, we should go the extra mile to honor our commitments and to highlight when others don't. We should acknowledge the type of people we are becoming.


Being trustworthy is one of the highest qualities one can aim for. Trust itself is a main and vital building block in human relationships, and one can easily see how a lack of trust can lead to the complete destruction of any and all relationships. Next time that you make a commitment and are tempted not to come through, think that only you have the ability to impact the value of your own trustworthiness.


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