Leadership in Action – Commitment or Mere Participation?

people building structure during daytime

In a ham and eggs breakfast, the chicken participates but the pig is committed. With apologies to the pig, this perfectly sums up challenges facing most organizations as they work to implement not only change initiatives, but “normal” day-to-day activities that keep the business running smoothly.


Continuing with the team effectiveness series, this third post examines the level of commitment within your team. This is where your team members have such clarity and alignment around the agreed-to direction and priorities, that they leave meetings energized to act, in alignment with the goals.


In many senior teams, the members participate, but are not fully committed. Instead, they are committed to their own area and the team that reports to them. A fully functioning senior team is committed to the senior team first, and recognizes the bigger strategic goals over their own personal department’s performance.


As the leader of the senior team, it is important that not only do you expect them to be aligned to the larger strategic objectives, but you also recognize when members put the organization’s needs above their department’s needs. It’s part of your job to help those senior team members to possess the clarity to communicate the “why” throughout the rest of the organization. Without this clarity, confusion will reign, not commitment.


When you find your team coming back to solving the same issue over and over again, this is an indication of lack of commitment. While you have decided on a solution in the past, for one reason or another, the team is not fully committed to the execution of the plan. When solving a problem as a team, having a great solution is only half solved. If that solution is never executed, it is not a solution at all. It was an exercise, not an application.


As a leader, when it appears that your team has arrived at a solution, test the level of commitment. Ask for commitment. If you don’t get it, then ask, “What are the concerns?” Next, ask the team, ”What are the potential roadblocks to implementing the plan?” and finally, ”How will we work through those, together?”  Creating this forethought not only deepens the commitment, it also builds resilience when implementing the solution. Finally, as a team, outline the next steps and the individual accountability for the full execution of the decision.


Taking this time to provide clarity and accountability around the expectations, both  individually and collectively, will Energize Action for your entire team.