Deliver what you promise — that’s success

Column by Michael Alcorn
Posted 3/27/18

We have bought a number of new appliances in our home over the last 15 months. And, no, that wasn’t the plan—we have lived in our house for 16 years, and this was the first significant upgrade to …

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Deliver what you promise — that’s success


We have bought a number of new appliances in our home over the last 15 months. And, no, that wasn’t the plan—we have lived in our house for 16 years, and this was the first significant upgrade to our hardware in all that time.

Frankly, it’s a miracle it took this long before things went kaput on us.

There’s a lesson in that, by the way: Young people, don’t be like me. Learn my lesson early: When you buy a home, set up a spreadsheet of all your major systems, make a notation of when they all went into commission, and have a plan for replacing and upgrading over time. You don’t want to find yourself, someday, with a number of sudden, significant problems in your house. Those are the kinds of things that ruin the best-laid budgetary plans.

At any rate, our experience with this process has been, at best, mixed, particularly on the delivery side of things.

Only one of these appliances was delivered and installed in the time and in the fashion that it was promised. We even had the absurd experience of being on the phone with one retailer, being told that they could not do the delivery on the day it was promised becasue of weather issues, while another retailer was ringing our doorbell with the promised delivery. I won’t tell you which stores failed us, but I am happy to say that the one that kept its end of the bargain was Lowe’s.

I say this, not to complain, but, to try to make a point.

There may be people who read this column who run businesses or who aspire to run businesses. And, in any business, you have to understand how competitive the world has become, and how necessary it is to set yourself apart with something that you do. In the case of appliances, most retailers have, basically, the same products for roughly the same price. What sets Lowe’s apart, and what guarantees that it will get my business in the future, was that it hustled and worked and kept its promises.

Works in other mediums, as well.

D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. High School in Jefferson County is an option school—meaning it takes kids from all over the district—that runs a different program, a different curriculum, than the other schools in the district. Parents place their students there knowing that D’Evelyn is a different sort of place than their neighborhood schools, and D’Evelyn delivers. It is a school that regularly appears on lists of the nation’s top high schools, and its test scores regularly outpace the other schools in the district and the state. And it doesn’t sacrifice the rest of the school experience to generate great test scores—the school has a thriving music program, and its athletic teams do well, also. It promises parents a different experience, and it delivers.

The world is full of examples of successful people and institutions that simply keep their promises. If you want to set yourself apart, find your strength, set your philosophy around providing on that, and then build a culture around delivering. It seems simple, but it is actually uncommonly difficult.

But then, that’s what sets success apart from the everyday.

• • • • •

Today’s foray into finding beauty in the world is one that I just discovered a couple years ago. Even though I have lived in Colorado my whole life, I have spent very little time on the western slope. But if you want to have a 2 1/2 hour drive that repeatedly takes your breath away with its awesome beauty, someday take the drive on Highway 550 between Montrose and Durango. Not for the faint of heart, but truly incredible.

Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His novels are available at His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.


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