YKK Stories

2017-08-14 Issue 10 Fundamental Behavior 9 – Honor Commitments

February 19, 2019
Author: YKK
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Honoring commitments is so easy to say; but often so difficult to do. But really, all we need to do to honor our commitments is do what we said we’d do in the first place. It’s about keeping our word in order to earn another person’s trust. When we tell friends we’ll meet them at a certain place at a certain time, we need to try our best to be there on time. Otherwise, they will doubt our reliability in the future. We want our friends to know we are worthy of their trust.

While all our commitments are important, they are especially important in the workplace because we’re not just proving that we as individuals are worthy of trust, we’re also proving that YKK and YKK AP are trustworthy. We are the face of the entire YKK or YKK AP brand, and our commitment is our company’s commitment. When we break a commitment to a customer, it is not a simple matter involving just that one unfortunate event. The relationship with our customer is on a different scale since our relationship with them is more about business than anything personal, and that special business relationship can easily be damaged, sometimes irreparably. It usually takes considerable time to rebuild a customer’s trust in us and in YKK or YKK AP. We want our customers to know how seriously we take our commitments. We want to be worthy of their trust. In fact, trust is so important to YKK that it is one of our Core Values: “Build trust, transparency, and respect.”

Therefore, we need to think carefully before we make a commitment. As we “think before we commit,” we need to consider all the uncontrollable factors that could cause us to fall short of our commitment. If the risk is high, maybe we should include a little extra allowance in whatever it is we are committing to … just in case. Personal experience suggests that usually most of our plans do not go as smoothly or as perfectly as we thought or hoped they would.

Likewise, as stated in Fundament Behavior #7, “Clarify expectations, then respond quickly,” we should clarify what’s expected of us and try our best to live up to our commitments, but if for some reason we are unable to fulfill our commitment, then it is imperative to notify others early and agree upon a new commitment. Communicating early and often is one of the best ways to build trust.

If you think about the many people in your life, you can pretty much put them into one of two categories: those who likely will honor their commitments, and those who have not earned your trust or confidence. Into which category do your friends, colleagues, or customers place you?

Simply put, if we make a commitment, then we should be committed. In other words, we should take our commitments very seriously and we should be totally committed to making them happen.

I know our customers can count on you because you are trustworthy and you are committed. Thank you!


Alex Gregory
Chairman and CEO
YKK Corporation of America