Commitment: How To Get It
Here is what you need to do to really get a strong commitment from others.
You meet with the person or group and say, “I have something really important that I need you to do. I need your full commitment. And by that I mean, I need you to give maximum effort and do your very best. I need you to figure out how to overcome the obstacles you will face, run through or breakdown walls if necessary, do what ever it takes to complete this task.”
That’s not all! The second step is more important than the first. It is to then ask them individually to respond to your request by making a personal commitment to do what you asked. After they have responded, you should ask again. “Are you fully committed?” Hopefully, you will get a ”Yes, I’m fully committed” from each person. If you don’t, you have more work to do. Continue the discussion to determine what they don’t understand or their concerns. Don’t quit this discussion until you are convinced that they know what you want them to do and they have committed to do it, or you have determined this isn’t the right person or group to do the task.
Using this simple technique will help you to develop a commitment culture in you business and significantly improve your success rate.
If you want to know why this is necessary and works read on.
Have you ever been disappointed because someone didn’t do something they said they would? I’m sure you have, because people fail to meet the expectations of others all the time. Just think about it. You probably have experienced that situation today, but definitely this week. Why does it happen? Why do people commit to things and then don’t do them?
Lack of communication is the usual reason people fail to meet their commitments. I’ll bet you are surprised to hear that. Most people think it’s due to others being inconsiderate, capricious or undisciplined; inconsiderate because they think only about themselves and not on the impact it will have on others, capricious because they change their mind and their priorities often, and undisciplined because they are lazy and not focused.
The real reason the problem is a breakdown in communication is that the word “commitment” means different things to different people. Webster’s collegiate dictionary defines it as; a pledge or promise to do something; dedication to a long term course of action; engagement; involvement. Here are some others: the extent to which we will inconvenience ourselves to accomplish something; a stabilizing force that acts to maintain behavioral direction when expectancy/equity conditions are not met and do not function.
This may shed some light on your disappointments with others. When they failed to do something they said they would, it might not have been that they failed to do it as much as they chose not to do it. Something else was a higher priority to them. This situation happens to each of us every day. We are faced with many choices as to how we use our time. The stronger our personal definition of commitment the greater our chance of doing what we said we would.
There are levels of commitment. Not only are there many definitions of commitment, but the definitions change depending on the situation. The easiest way to see this is to look at the wheel of life (see figure #1). You might not have been exposed to this concept or recall it clearly so let me give a brief summary of how it works. The wheel is made up of eight spokes with each spoke representing a different area of our life. The eight areas are: Spiritual, financial, health, family, career, emotions, friends, and mind. If you were to rate how well you were doing in each of these to your ideal, let’s say 10 on a 1-10 scale, you would get an idea of your commitment level in that area. If in the category health, you rate yourself a 9 or 10, it would most likely indicate that you are serious about keeping yourself in shape and are very happy with your present health. On the other hand, if you rate yourself at 1, 2, or 3, it would indicate that you are not happy with your present health and probably do little exercise to stay in shape. The same would be true on family. If you have a high rating it would indicate that you enjoy and work to develop and maintain a good relationship with your immediate family members. If you rate this low it would indicate that your family relationships are weak and that too little time is spent with them.
Generally there is a direct correlation between the ratings in a category and your commitment to that aspect of your life, particularly in the areas of health, family, social, and spiritual. Our health is where it is because we did or didn’t take care of ourselves, eat right, exercise, or see the doctor when necessary. Our social lives are satisfactory depending on whether we have developed a pleasing personality, good communication skills, and attend social functions where we will give ourselves adequate opportunity to meet other people. Our financial situation will reflect our commitment to save money and use it wisely. If we are preparing a budget, putting 10% in savings before starting to spend on other things, and avoiding spending for frivolous things, we will rate ourselves higher in financial health than if we don’t. However, if we are just starting out on a career or have changed a direction in our lives recently, then the correlation of our rating in a category to our commitment in that category may be lower. For example when we first start out in our career, we may not be where we eventually want to go. We may not be making the money we want, but we still could have a high commitment to achieve in these areas.
Just like there are different levels of interest in football, reading, and personal development, there are different levels of commitment out there for us to deal with; in ourselves or others.
Here is what a few other people have to say about commitment levels:
“A total commitment is paramount to reaching the ultimate in performance.” ~ Tom Flores ~
“If you want to take your mission in life to the next level, if you're stuck and you don't know how to rise, don't look outside yourself. Look inside. Don't let your fears keep you mired in the crowd. Abolish your fears and raise your commitment level to the point of no return, and I will guarantee you that the Champion within will burst forth to propel you toward victory.”
~ Bruce Jenner ~
“I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life's greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve.
~ Anthony Robbins ~
By now you can imagine the problems that could arise from having a different understanding of what commitment means and also having levels of commitment. How are we to know what a person really means when they says they are committed? Which definition of commitment applies and to what level are they committed? Since commitment is the extent to which one will inconvenience themselves to attain an end. How is anybody to know what to expect? How do we know the extent a person will inconvenience themselves for us or a particular project? A person could say they are committed, but they are only willing to expend or inconvenience themselves a little to do what they say. This is why people are quite frequently disappointed with the performance of others. Each party has a different understanding of what was said. In fact, it has been said that a third, and possibly more, of the world’s problems are caused by poor or inadequate communication.
So to get the results you want from others you need to make it crystal clear what you want. This usually means telling them more than once and possibly in different ways. Since communication is two way, you have to make sure you get a crystal clear response from them as well. You shouldn’t assume they have got it. Get them to tell you. This helps to reinforce the message on them.
Actions to take:
Start using this technique on significant projects in your business. It may take two to five minutes longer, but the results will be well worth it.
Gradually start using it on less significant projects. You should tone down the commitment level you request slightly. You could leave out “run through or breakdown walls” and use “I need your commitment” rather than “I need your full commitment.”
Once you have demonstrated the technique to your team, encourage them to start using it as well. This will help you to develop a commitment culture in your business.