Over and under

I’m guessing you’re familiar with the term ‘sandbagging’ which relates to not over-promising. It’s a common sales term and wise strategy.

Being conservative isn’t a bad idea but although that is something that a salesperson understands well, it’s often not the case for those delivering and consulting on an engagement or running a change program that requires setting expectations with the larger organization. Sometimes we’re eager to share expected outcomes and results in order to win the confidence of the other person, but we do this without having the certainty that what we’re promising is always possible.

Thomas Leonard, in his book The Portable Coach, sets out a number of principles to be an effective coach or even consultant. ‘Promise Little, Deliver Everything’ is the tenth Principle of Attraction noted in his book. While we agree in theory, the practice of this principle requires discipline since violating it comes too naturally. We all want to paint the big picture but what we need to do is bring people along the journey under a well thought out cadence that delivers small wins along the way.

“When you consistently deliver more than was expected, customers are drawn to you.”


How can you rethink and reshape your change narrative to something more realistic, incremental and factual without having to sandbag?

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