Successful Leaders Understand the Power of Commitments
Performance is like pushing a rope apart from shared commitments.
Managers often ask, “How can I get people to do what I want them to do?” The answer is people do what THEY want to do. Invite commitment.
Commitments require common values, mutual responsibility, and shared benefits.
A commitment is a decision made once.
Commitments require faithfulness. When you commit, you obligate yourself to bring energy and resources in fulfillment of your commitment.
Commitments limit options. When you commit, to your spouse you ruled out all other options. When you commit to improvement, for example, drifting is ruled out.
Reluctance to commit is natural and healthy.
A commitment is a form of self-control. It’s not a committed relationship if faithfulness is fear of getting caught. Carrots or sticks are secondary.
Commitments are voluntary.
Coercion creates conformity, not commitment. Coercion depends on fear.
Forced conformity isn’t commitment.
People commit for their reasons, not yours.
Commitments are given, not demanded.
Commitments require consequence and reward. When you don’t pay your mortgage, the bank takes your home. (Consequence)
You made a voluntary commitment to pay for your home.
When you fulfill, your commitment you own your home. (Benefit)
10 requirements of commitment:
- Unselfish leadership.
- Mutual involvement. Coercion means the one in control is one-up and the one being controlled is one-down. Commitments are two-sided affairs.
- Shared information. Everyone who commits is an insider. Secrets weaken commitments.
- Transparent conversations that build strong connection. Personal knowledge enables people to make commitments.
- Shared values.
- Shared results, benefits and consequences.
- Drive for improvement from all levels. Managers don’t pressure employees to improve when commitments are shared. Commitment means reaching high, not just getting by.
- Shared purpose.
- Minimum hierarchy.
- Front-line input and decision-making.
Lasting success requires commitment, not coercion.
How might leaders establish shared commitments?
Managers (as opposed to leaders) extract commitment rather than foment it … I get it
But what does “performance” “pushing a rope apart” mean (with respect to commitment)?
It’s hard to push a rope. It wiggles all over the place. When people aren’t committed it’s difficult to see performance in them.
Ropes work well when pulling. When people are committed, they pull each other.
Leaders might share commencement through influence rather than authority.
This is a very powerful concept. Thank you Dan for creating this post. I really appreciate your succinct manner and style of writing. It’s immediately applicable without being a burden to read in terms of length or content. I think what I see in unselfish leadership is empathy in action and time and again you refer to ‘sharing’ as a central concept. Thank you for inspiring me and your community of followers! I shared the post 😉
Your first point, “Commitments require common values, mutual responsibility, and shared benefits,” is key to successful commitment. If the activity is viewed as one-sided, commitment will be difficult, especially in the long term, or when obstacles arise.
Thank you for another great post.
The rewards for commitment are in the future, but the work is in the now. What will the return on my investment be if I commit to this? The Vision needs to be clear.