See How Easily You Can Over Deliver!


“Under promise and over deliver.”  I suspect that this principle will work with just about anything.  People love it when something is better than they imagined, or better than was originally promised.   Young Life camp was just that for me.  Let me briefly explain.

In 1981 I went to a Young Life property, Woodleaf.  Here are a couple places where Woodleaf “over delivered” to me and my internal expectations:

  • “Camp was roughing it.”  This couldn’t have been farther from the truth.  No lines to get food in the dining hall, no sleeping bags, and a feel of a resort during free time.
  • “Counselors were your enemies.”  At basketball camps the counselors were always giving push-ups and watching for you to mess up.  At YL camp they were your friend, and would actually look to serve and help you.
  • “Rules abound, and fun is squelched.”  I think the moment a four-wheel Ridge-runner came peeling into the dining hall I realized that rules were not meant for the Program Directors.
  • “Mess hall was a place to eat and get out.”  Wow, there the dining hall was always causing you to ‘wonder’ what would happen next.  There was a full stage act at every meal.  Plus, they even offered coffee to me as a teenager after every meal!  My kind of place!
  • “Things are thrown together.”  Excellence was everywhere at Woodleaf.  The tables were always set, the humor was top-notch, the flowers in every flower bed, the entire camp was clearly put together with great purpose.

Here is a camp tour made a couple years ago by Ashley Maddox.  Yes, I am the emcee, but don’t let that keep you from watching.  We made this video very last second and off the cuff.  It was designed to bring camp back to some potential donors who might never get to camp.  It has been well used and gives a great, fast tour.  See what you think!

What about you and your life?  What are you delivering in your job or in your personal relationships this week?  Is it possible that some of what we talked about above could sharpen you this week to strive to “over deliver?”

Here are some examples of everyday life where I think we can strive for more, and if we use some of these principles that I experienced at Young Life Camp, they can transform many situations.  Here are a couple:

  • Practice the element of surprise.  This can be a date night, this can be flowers, this can be a present or even a card.  This will always, always serve you well.  Strive not to be predictable!
  • Practice the art of excellence.  If you are going to do it, why not do it well!  Only you will know where to overlay this into your life, but know that striving for excellence will never let you down!
  • Practice the style of serving.  Serving will always set you apart.  I have found that when at a guest’s home for dinner I love to clear the table and load the dishwasher. It’s a small way to serve.  “May I help?” will always set you apart!
  • Practice deeper relationships.  It takes effort to take a working relationship and to make it go deeper.  I will go today and have breakfast with a co-worker where we are still getting to know each other.  “Linger at the table, and have a cup of coffee – you never know when the stage lights will come on!”

Hope this helps.  It helps me to just be reminded of who I want to be as a leader.




4 thoughts on “See How Easily You Can Over Deliver!

  1. I had a boss for a long time that used to constantly tell me I needed to “under commit and over deliver” and we butted heads over it till the day he left. I have an issue with setting expectations that I am not going to deliver to the best of my ability only to at the end “surprise” people by going above what I had committed to in the first place. I felt that by under committing to start with I was basically covering my ass should I not be able to deliver what I know I should have been able to do. Why not commit to a very high level to start with, do you best to make that happen and when successful you can look to go even higher the next time. In a competitive situation (and I always see things as a win/loss) there is a very good chance you may lose before you even have a chance to try if you under commit to start with, and I hate to lose.

    Many times in my life I have needed to get a couple wins under my belt before I could truly see where the pinnacle was, had I started out trying to reach the top I never would have been able to see how high I could go.

    Love you Sco, I just really don’t love the “under commit, over deliver thing”.

  2. Eric
    Great to see you’re blogging. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. I’ve got a meeting in 15 minutes and after reading your post on over delivering, I’ve done three different things that most yacht brokers wouldn’t do. Nothing huge, just a bit beyond. Thanks for being an encourager (by the way spell check says there is no word “Encourager” thats BS) and keep sharing your wisdom.

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