Making a commitment involves dedicating yourself to something. This is one of your most important company values.
Making a commitment obligates another that person to do something, as well. Many companies contract consulting firms. Many companies talk about their important company values. The consultants lean on these and, through rigorous studies, reviews, and establish plans to enact improvements. Then, they never follow through to put in place the recommendations. Why is this? Why put in all that work for nothing? After all, this is an important company value.
I believe that they don’t want to make the changes necessary to make the improvements the company needs.
Too many companies hope that by some stroke of luck, things will improve and they will be the beneficiary of that good fortune. A famous saying is: “The harder I work, the luckier I get”. I experienced that with my former company. The more potential clients we met with, the more business we received. When we saw fewer potentials, we received less work.
One of my favorite companies followed this axiom. My company and I worked with them on many projects over the course of 12 years. Our work involved all one-time improvements they were seeking to make. Their staff focused on day-to-day operations.
I cannot think of one project we worked on for which they did not accept our findings. Our recommendations were all enacted. We assisted based on the workload of the employees. The key to their success was that they followed through. Then, they reaped the benefits of the services for which they had paid us.
They didn’t accept everything we recommended at face value. They leaned into their important company values of communication and commitment.
Occasionally our findings were challenged. The project team needed to understand the data and the information we developed. Once they did, then they accepted our recommendations. The executives knew how it would affect them when implemented. There were no excuses as to why they couldn’t make the recommended changes.
One of the projects that I worked on with this company was developing a five – year operational strategic plan. The project team had never done anything like this and didn’t know how to develop one. I helped them to create one. A team member was assigned to learn the process. That person was then responsible to develop future plans.
Another project involved upgrading their thermoforming process. Whoever had developed it had left the company and they had no internal expertise. I worked with them on developing a new process. It included new equipment and layout of the department. There were regular reviews throughout the project.
This company is very successful and has grown by leaps and bounds and is over a billion dollars in annual revenues.
Additional facilities were added through expansion and acquisition. If they can be so successful why can’t others? Here are some reasons that explain their success: :
- Clarity about what’s really going on – People who don’t follow through don’t understand the problem(s) they are facing and don’t acknowledge that they are, in fact, the problem. This company realizes that they have problems. They value the time and money they are spending to do so, take responsibility to do something with the information they receive, and want to see results.
- This company is busy, proactive and attentive. Although there may be many daily activities, they find time to work on issues. If they can’t do both, they hire outside help. This is a force multiplier.
There are no excuses about not having enough time to make changes.
- They value investing in their company and carefully spend their money. Financial independence is one of their important company values. They realize that it takes an investment to correct and improve things and are willing to make that investment. Once they have, they make sure that they get value for their outlay. Time and money have a value to them. They expect a return on both.
Being committed also impacts your employees.
I have always gone by the 20 – 60- 20 rule. 20% of your employees are committed to the company and need little or no motivation to get things done. They are your superstars.
The other 20% are the employees that need a stick of dynamite to get moving. Even then they resist doing things outside their norm. They have little attachment to important company values.
That leaves the 60% who are waiting and watching. If they see their leadership committed and reward those who are, they will commit too. If they see indifference or a lack of commitment, they will join the lower 20% and do the minimum.
A leader’s goal is to move the middle 60% towards their superstars.
Managers certainly don’t want them to be in the lower 20%. That doesn’t mean that they will all become superstars. When the need arises they will work a little harder spending the time necessary to get things done.
A well-functioning, successful business depends on motivating this middle group of employees.
It also keeps the superstars properly committed. If over time they see that there are no penalties for slacking, they may become less involved. That could be fatal to accompany or organization. So how does a leader keep this from happening?
There are five steps that a leader should take to prevent a downshift.
- Develop and promote your vision – You must have a vision for where you want your business to go. Your employees’ work needs to help you achieve your vision statement goals. For the employees to take ownership in achieving the vision, they need to believe in it. They know that you are committed and are
“Walking the talk”.
- The vision must be reinforced. This must be sincere. Employees are smart people. They can see through something that is superficial and must also know what their role(s) will be and what your expectation of them is. Employees who see the impact of their positions tend to be more committed to the business’s success. They observe how their mistakes can damage growth and will work to minimize these.
- Don’t micromanage employees’ work – Freedom is critical to the employees’ ability to develop ownership in their work. Micromanagement stifles creativity, engagement, and ownership. Micromanaging limits their ownership in projects and tasks. Instead of micromanaging employees you should encourage them to complete tasks how they want. Give the employees the opportunity to share their opinions and ideas on how to do their jobs. Employees who are heard and respected are committed and engaged. Engagement and respect are other important company values that great organizations cultivate.
- Be involved with the employees – Determine what the workers are looking for. Conduct regular review meetings with them. How the company is progressing towards this should be discussed. The employees should provide updates on what and how they are doing. Improvement ideas should be solicited.
- Provide incentives – Hard work and initiative should be rewarded. Proper incentives should be utilized. These can include Career advancement opportunities, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), Bonuses, and Gainsharing.
Successful companies are totally committed to success.
They seek counsel, listen to what they are told and know what they don’t know and aren’t afraid to admit it. They challenge assumptions and recommendations. This is not to be difficult. They do so but to be sure they understand. They want to be sure that the work they are contracting for is thorough, accurate and complete.
Where do you stand about Commitment? This is one of the most important company values.
Have you established a vision and are you unswerving in making it a reality?
Are you “Walking the talk”?
Are you supporting this to your employees?
Do you think that you have control over your destiny? Or, do you believe it is out of your control?
Successful companies have strong leaders that have and are committed to, a vision.
They communicate this to their employees and assure that each person knows their role in achieving this. They accept no excuses for lack of execution and stay the course. Good leaders are not distracted by the next great business idea. The leader is always looking to see how the business environment is changing. In that way, they stay ahead of the change curve. You need to check your organization and leadership. You need to ask yourself if you meet these points. Decide if it is time to evaluate where you are coming up short. Then change what you are doing and how you are going about profitably growing your business. Make sure that commitment permeates your company. This is one of the most important company values. Make sure it exists and thrives on your own.