“Never promise more than you can perform.” It has always been one of my mantras and it appears that UPS follows the advice as well. In an unprecedented move this holiday season, the shipper announced that it was temporarily suspending package pickup from some of the largest retailers, including Macy’s, L.L. Bean, Nike, and the Gap because they had exceeded “specific capacity allocations.” UPS said they would resume deliveries from these companies again when it had the ability to handle them.

 

UPS has been proactive in working with retailers to anticipate the extra volume generated by the pandemic and holiday shopping – the two conditions combining to create an expected surge in online orders. The delivery company has partnered with several stores including Michael’s, Walgreens, and Staples to serve as drop-off and pick-up points for packages. Other retailers are providing incentives for customers to get their orders curbside instead of delivered. It has been a year-long, systemic approach to avoid unrealistic demands that UPS knows it cannot meet.

 

People often think that companies can add, add, add services without acknowledging that the personnel and infrastructure do have their limitations. Rather than push both to the breaking point, UPS has devised a system that allows it to deliver as promised what it accepts. Take a lesson from the brown truck people and set realistic limits on what you promise.

 

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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