Commitment: Powerful or Painful

Commitment: Powerful or Painful

This is a tough topic for me to write and speak on.  I committed to recording a video for you every week just last month and frankly I blew it!  I missed a week and it happened so quickly and so easily.  As I reflected on this misstep, I realized this is exactly what happens in the organizations I work with!  Commitments are made with the best of intentions, with fervor and dedication and intensity.  Yet, commitments are broken daily. 

Why is it so hard to keep our commitments?

I believe it is the day to day whirlwind of everything that needs to get done. Or perhaps in your organization it is easier to simply say yes to everything so we can keep the momentum going.  Or possibly if you just say yes, it will be forgotten like all the other things we commit to in our meetings.  Maybe you just didn’t say anything and agreement was assumed. Or ideas are just floated but no one nails them down.

Whatever the reason is…it needs to change.  Organizations complain frequently to me that many of their initiatives never seem to come to fruition.  I can only speak for myself.  I created an excuse for not doing the weekly email that perhaps I was emailing you way too often.  But where did I get that from?  Where is the data to support my conclusion?  I have none.  It was simply a gut feeling. And I believe it can happen just as simply as that in your organization too. 

So how do we make it better?  How do we move forward and keep the commitments and promises we make to each other?  Here are 4 simple suggestions:

  • Know the barriers you may face that may keep you from living up to your commitments. Have the frank conversation with your team and ask for the causes and immediately come up with the solutions.  Stop the cycle.
  • Make fewer, better commitments. Don’t say yes just because it is easier.  In the long run, broken commitments stop our organizations from being the best we can be, waste a lot of time and energy, and negatively impact our employees.
  • Do the thumbs up exercise. At the end of every meeting, go around the room one by one asking each person what they believe are the commitments we have made and ask them to give you a thumbs up if they agree, a thumb sideways if they need more info or a thumbs down for a disagreement.  Take the time, right then and there, to address anyone who does not give you a thumbs up.  The few extra minutes you spend here will save you hours upon hours of rework later.
  • Track your commitments. Do the commitments you have made still serve you?  Revisit your list.  If the answer is yes, wonderful, proceed.   If the answer is no, revisit and correct. This is not required every day, but at predetermined intervals.

Here is my question to you…is a video weekly from me too often? Or would you prefer the videos every other week?  Email me.  I would love your feedback so I can make an informed decision moving forward. 

Now go be the best leader you can be!


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Looking for additional reading? Check out this great article:  Employers’ broken promises can be costly, Clemson research shows.

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