Do I have your Commitment?
To a business or military leader, parent, minister, or spouse; gaining commitment is one of the most powerful actions a person can achieve when getting things done.
To an organization, gaining 100% commitment from their team ensures that everyone has bought-in to the projects, plans or goals. With it comes an outstanding chance of hitting the goals or objectives, without it comes guaranteed failure.
Great leaders “Get It”
To them, getting their team’s commitment is not “my way or the highway”, it’s more like a two-way street that is extremely busy, with the leader expertly listening intently, allowing time for discussion, and ultimately driving their team to the right place and getting 100% agreement on the plan.
The leader masterfully orchestrates his communication methods by creating an atmosphere of allowing their team to voice their concerns. A one-on-one or team meeting is the initial method, with reiterations of over-communicating until the mission is completed.
In the first collaboration, the leader clearly understands that his/her team can and should voice unadulterated opinions. The leader will amplify their listening skills.
At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, this team who trusts one another and has vigorously debated the issues, comes together with 100% commitment behind the goals, project or action.
How can folks who initially disagree with a goal or plan be committed to achieving it?
I was blessed to be a part of the wireless movement spanning 4 decades (80’s, 90’s, 00’s and 10’s)
Our goals and objectives to folks outside of our world seemed like “BIHAG’s” (big hairy audacious goals), but to us they were “goals” that needed to be met.
Leadership was very consistent in raising objectives and launching new revenue streams and products on a quarterly basis. New planning and re-direction came with it. The customers, industry and shareholders demanded it. How did we accomplish this?
We weren’t in the business of selling units, we were in a new industry of selling safety, convenience and the value of time. We were inspired that we were truly making the world a better place to live.
Our leaders were visionaries, and they knew how to keep the message simple but inspiring.
They also shared the company goals and rules of engagement throughout all levels of the organization of how to get there. There was a sense of teamwork and excitement that we were part of something bigger than just ourselves.
Yep, the planning discussions were tenuous, exciting and boisterous, but at the end of the day, we were committed to executing and reaching the goals.
Simply put, we believed in our leadership and in each other.
When you have the level of trust that understands that we are in the boat together, if we aren’t rowing 100%, then the boat will not get there. Our speed to gaining commitment with each other increased.
That’s when commitment takes on a whole new meaning. Yes, we may have disagreed, with our leadership intently listening, but at the end of the day when it’s time to row, we row.
As Patrick Lencioni shares in his 3rd Behavior of The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Commitment, “to get buy-in, the team needs to weigh-in”.
Without 100% Commitment- Execution will never happen
Too many times leaders have a great plan but lack the execution. One of the great telecom industry leaders Ralph de la Vega shared in his book Obstacles Welcome that one of his favorite saying’s came from Stan Sigman (his former colleague and CEO of Cingular Wireless) that “A Good Plan is a Job Half-Done”.
Without “100 % commitment” to the plan, execution would be just a pipe dream, and clearly the job would never be done for sure.
So how do we get it done?
Commitment starts with you!
To ensure execution gets done, commitment to the plan starts with you.
Team needs to “weigh-in so you can get buy-in”
Set your team up for success by allowing them to voice their opinions See “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team” 3rd Behaviors - Commitment.
An effective leader and team understands the overall mission, and once they leave your “planning” room, they’ll move to the execution room in unison.
Team Commitment is dynamic, leaders have to continually check for understanding through over communicating the goals and objectives, and keep inspecting what the expectations are.
Step 1. Commitment to the plan starts with you! The Leader
We’ve all heard it - “Ladies and Gentlemen, when the oxygen masks come down, please put it on and adjust your mask before helping others”!
When it comes to breathing in the oxygen of commitment, for others to take in commitment, we need to put our own mask on. You have to be committed to the plan for you to “transfer the passion” and the “why’s” behind the plan.
Gaining commitment of your team is no different, if you don’t think the leader has “bought-in” into the plan, then are you going to jump right in? You might be obliged to move in that direction, but will you be all in?
Step 2. Team needs to “weigh-in so you can get “buy-in”
Kevin Monroe, Servant Leadership Expert and Speaker just returned last week from Norway after delivering his keynote address on Servant Leadership, eloquently summed up Servant Leadership in this way: “Servant Leadership is a people-centered approach to life and leadership that puts other people at the center. It places the needs, growth, and development of those led, ahead of those leading.”
Kevin’s recent post on LinkedIn summed up 3 attributes (empathy, listening, and authenticity) of an effective leader who utilizes Servant Leadership. So bottom line- To roll out an effective plan and ensure execution, you must be an active listener, who empathizes when the team voices their concerns, and they must believe in you and your leadership.
Step 3. Commitment is a dynamic process:
“Check for Understanding” comes in many different flavors in Top Performing Organizations
Outstanding leaders integrate this check for understanding into the DNA of the organization.
They create a culture of “check-ins”, which has a bi-product of strengthening your relationship with the team.
Daily Field Visits, Daily Check-In’s, 1-1’s, Town Hall’s, Social Media, Operational Reviews, Recognizing Achievements with fun events, Utilizing Reporting methods that creates awareness on Key Performance Indicators that everyone takes ownership with.
Every time leadership touches the team, they provide an opportunity to provide clarity around those actions that are important for the team to succeed.
Without trust on the team, those activities mentioned above would look a whole lot different. Short term gains might be reached, but overall health of the team or company will start to suffer (ROI, Retention, Customer Experience, Shareholder Value etc.)
Does gaining agreement with your team get easier over time?
Yes, it starts with establishing trust, but like spring training in baseball, never lose site of the basics. Keep providing an avenue for the team to voice their concerns, with an empathetic ear, and your team’s speed to flawless execution will continue to improve.
Mark Clare is Founder of the Human Capital Discovery Group, with a focus on helping teams realize their true potential. He is an Authorized Partner and Accredited Facilitator for The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team and Everything DiSC learning models. Mark volunteers at Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business EMBA program and is an active board member of the Institute of Management Consultants- Georgia