As senior executives and business leaders, commitment is about remaining steadfast and unwavering in your goals and objectives. Whether this is galvanizing a team to achieve a vision or staying focused on hitting a sales target, commitment is about never giving up on a desired outcome.
The greatest leaders understand that commitment takes place on an individual, team, and organizational level. At the individual level, commitment is about keeping your word and delivering on your responsibilities. This can be accomplished by focusing on the critical priorities that will drive results. As a leader, the need for delegation and balancing your commitments becomes critical. Leaders who can focus on their key objectives and effectively hand off work to others accomplish their goals.
At the team level, commitment is about properly sequencing and socializing ideas and strategies that others can follow. Team leaders need to identify the key initiatives and create a sustainable work rhythm for their people. This involves proper resource allocation and ensuring the objectives that get prioritized have a material impact on the business.
Team leaders also need to be comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. They must demonstrate the fortitude to stay the course and make tough decisions while facing obstacles and challenges. The strongest team leaders encourage their people to pursue objectives, and they invite input from others along the journey. They create viable feedback loops with key stakeholders to anticipate needs and track performance.
At the organizational level, commitment is about persisting in overcoming obstacles from a variety of internal and external sources—from other departments and business units, from customers and clients, and from important external stakeholders.
It is about exerting the necessary concentration to handle turbulent economic periods and deploying sound judgment in prioritizing organizational objectives. As CEOs and senior executives, it is about emphasizing and reinforcing the importance of having a collective sense of mission and purpose. It is about staying committed to the vision and consistently delivering a message of hope, encouragement, and excitement for the future. Additionally, when senior leaders can establish reporting processes and systems that are highly efficient and accurate, this allows for more energy to be directed at adding value to the organization. It allows people to focus on their responsibilities and leverage their strengths and capabilities to drive results.
So, what are the key things leaders need to do to create cultures of commitment? Here are four things you can focus on with your people:
- The Power of Reaping What You Sow: Commitment is all about reaping what you sow. You need to be diligent in your efforts and prepare for the unexpected. The interesting thing about sowing and reaping is that it can work in a positive or negative way. It can have a tremendous positive impact on a leader’s ability to influence and impact their people. It can also derail executives if they are not careful in how they are leading their teams. Make sure to sow positivity and hope into the lives of others. Whether it is your direct reports, colleagues, customers, or external stakeholders, the process of sowing into peoples’ lives reaps immense benefits. Similarly, sow goals and objectives into processes and procedures that will drive success. Take time to research ideas and chart out a course to make your dreams a reality. Not only will this help you reap success, but it will also serve as a positive example for the people around you. Sowing and reaping always has an impact on your employees. When they see someone taking the time and effort to make something happen, the focus on commitment and dedication becomes infectious. It pushes people to remain determined in setting and achieving their own goals.
- Be Open to Making Adjustments: No plan is flawless at its inception. Developing ideas and charting a course for their attainment is important, but unforeseen challenges will inevitably arise. As a leader, you need to remain open to the changes that will occur in the pursuit of your goals. Leaders need to be flexible and willing to make adjustments as needed. Some of the best leaders practice this behavior with their teams on a regular basis. They will chart a course, provide direction to their people, and then solicit input and feedback about progress being made along the way. They do not get frustrated by challenges and temporary setbacks. Instead, they adapt to the circumstances and remain focused on the long-term objectives. Innovation and creativity are also important factors when it comes to making adjustments. Leaders must be willing to modify their objectives and adapt to changing times. Those that do this the best actively look for different points of view and encourage diversity of thought from their people.
- Conquering Adversity: Related to making adjustments is the ability to persist through challenging seasons. In leadership, this can ultimately be the make-it-or-break-it factor for many people. It is easy to lead when times are good; when business is thriving, employees are satisfied, and objectives are being achieved. However, the real test of leadership is when adversity strikes. How people respond to hardships demonstrates their character and fortitude. When trials and tribulations occur, and they always will, it is important to embrace the moment and push through. Some of the best leadership development experiences are figuring out how to get through the tough times. The key is to not get frustrated and give up. You must maintain your effort and momentum. This is not only important for your own growth but has an impact on the people around you. When team members see their leaders staying focused and committed, they tend to do the same. How you handle adversity sets an example for the people around you. Make sure you are setting the right example by remaining steadfast in your beliefs and not compromising your leadership to get through the difficult periods.
- Never Use Excuses: Commitment is not about excuses. It is about remaining focused on accomplishing your objectives despite challenges or negative circumstances. Leaders who practice this skill have the ability to persevere. However, when leaders use excuses and look to blame others for their troubles, they tend to derail quickly. When it comes to achieving your goals and dreams, remember to always accept full responsibility for your actions. You cannot be committed to a desired outcome and quickly look to blame other people or circumstances when things do not go your way. Those who commit to something must have the stamina and resilience to work through good and bad times. In the end, using excuses slows things down and makes it extremely hard to remain committed to your key objectives.
Commitment is not for the faint of heart. You must be willing to put in the time and effort needed if you want to achieve your organization’s strategic priorities. Keep this in mind as you chart a course, and make sure to always keep your eyes on the prize. This will drive commitment in your personal efforts and set the right tone for building cultures of excellence for your people and organizations.
Written by Adam C. Bandelli.
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