Three Surprising Benefits of Making a Commitment
A leader who’s reluctant to commit respects the value of commitments. But remarkable success demands commitment.
Reluctance to commit is natural. Refusal to commit is deadly.
Leaders who excel make courageous commitments. Half-hearted commitment always disappoints.
The courage to commit is the beginning of success.
3 surprising benefits of making commitments:
#1. Increased creativity.
You can’t figure out how to do what you don’t want to do.
You figure out how to fulfill commitments. Lack of commitment makes you dumb.
Creativity follows commitment.
Energy follows commitments.
Before commitments, you’re reluctant and lethargic.
Commitments give direction to energy. Potential energy is useless until it’s released.
#3. Limiting options – establishing priorities.
Apart from commitment, the seduction of shiny objects wins.
When you commit to your spouse, you eliminate other options.
Drifting is excluded when you commit to excel.
#1. Make small commitments.
Stephen Guise says a commitment to do one push-up a day changed his life. (Mini Habits) The commitment to go to my office and put my hands on the keyboard has resulted in over 3,000 blog posts.
I didn’t set out to write 3,000 blog posts. If I had, I never would have started.
Guise says if your commitment is embarrassingly small, you’re on the right path.
#2. Commit just for today.
Avoid most long-term commitments.
Commit to give three affirmations for every correction or criticism – just for today.
#3. Commit with.
Find a commitment partner – someone who will commit with you. You go further with than alone.
Six commitments of successful leaders:
- Fertilize your leadership.
- Use the scalpel on yourself – seek feedback.
- Try stuff.
- Persistently turn toward the future.
- Bring up elephants.
- Keep your piggy bank empty. Give all the credit to others.
Do something where failure matters.
What prevents leaders from making commitments?
What commitments do successful leaders make?
“What prevents leaders from making commitments?”
Although this post emphasizes the small, day-to-day commitments that are so important to building a culture that values and promotes careful commitment-making, this question triggered a “bigger picture” issue from my own recent experience. In my consulting work with policing agencies, I find that leaders often struggle with commitments to a particular strategic direction or course of action because they are inundated with often conflicting information and alternatives. This is a stark contrast with the situation twenty years ago when a lack of information was a more common issue. Each alternative usually has ardent advocates inside and/or outside the organization who exert pressure on leaders to ensure their chosen position prevails. Courage is indeed needed when making commitments in this environment!
Thanks Jim. The challenge of making commitments is inadequate information, conflicting opinions, and short time-lines.
In turbulence, learn and adapt as you go seems to be the wisest option. I wonder how many Big Commitments could be tested with small ones?
“What commitments do successful leaders make?”
Cynically, one might say commitments that other people will carry the can for…
I think something that can limit commitment is seeing what you are committing to NOT doing when you commit to do something. When you (and especially when others) realise what having set that thing in stone will stop you doing, it can certainly prompt a discussion of whether it’s the right idea!
Thanks Mitch. The idea that commitments eliminate options and require his to STOP things is important and necessary. It seems like these factors limit commit-making in healthy ways.
Proper respect for commitments includes careful consideration of what it takes to fulfill them.
Hello Mr Dan,
Answering to your question, what prevents leaders from making commitments?
I see it this way, sometimes it’s the overhang of earlier failed commitments. If a Leader (he may not be if he isn’t committing) failed over and over to comply with earlier commitments, if does not go to root’s of the failure and rechecks the causes and consequences is bound to not to fulfill his next one.
Again just mere committing won’t ever help, he needs to take the ultra small steps to honour each commitment.
You rightly mentioned the mini habits.
Commitment is in essence building habits and I have read a few on developing habits. It’s starts out with a routine and creating the conditions for the routine to appear over and over again until you go on auto-pilot. I really like the idea of leaders taking gestures no matter how small and committing to them because it shows to me they care and that they are all in. I think telling myself to commit just for today is the best advice I’ve heard in a while. It really starts one day at a time.
Over commitment can be a problem as well. It can squelch creativity, zap energy and lose any sense of priority (i.e. everything’s a priority). Commitment has to begin at the top with proper resources, reasonable expectations and vision. Sometimes this means that other activities need to be de-prioritized and this can be very difficult.