How Committed Is Your Team?

4 steps that can empower leaders to address commitment problems.

Do you know how committed your team is? Or are you, perhaps willfully, out of touch with the sentiments of your employees?

Organizational commitment to a CEO’s strategy is a key factor in how successful that strategy will be. Unfortunately, in many organizations, commitment often is lacking, and executives may not even know it. When revenue and profits are suffering, a lack of commitment is often at the root of the problem.

True commitment goes far beyond compliance. When people are committed, they perform their roles with genuine passion and energy and they take on bold promises and commitments.

Far too many CEOs are blind to commitment problems in their organizations. Many leaders who sense morale problems often avoid them, worried that they reflect poorly on their leadership. They sugarcoat situations to preserve their self-image. Further, they may not feel competent at addressing such commitment problems, believing this is the work of their HR department.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Leaders have the opportunity, power, and responsibility to increase commitment and generate amazing results. Getting employees to embrace and adopt a strategy is the ultimate factor in whether that strategy will succeed. And despite what some may think, every CEO and his or her management team possesses the ability to generate substantial levels of commitment in their organization—even in the most dire of circumstances.

The first step is probably the hardest and most important: being brutally honest about the extent of the commitment problem. Only when leaders are willing to own and admit the level of apathy or dissension—and only when they recognize the negative consequence of it—can they hope to reverse things.

Steps to Follow

Confronting the internal politics, silos, and trust issues can be a grueling and uncomfortable exercise for the CEO and his or her team. Here are four steps that can empower leaders to address commitment problems:

Step 1: ’Fess up. In order for an organization to change, leaders first must own up to the current behaviors and dynamics—in this case, a lack of commitment. Change can’t happen when people are in denial that there is a problem.

Step 2: Embrace your alternate options. The truth will set you free. ’Fessing up to organizational or leadership shortcomings will allow everyone involved to start asking, “So now what?” “How else could I approach my work?” “How can I better lead my organization?”

Step 3: Make a choice and take a stand. When leaders embrace their alternate options, they can make real choices—choices about how they and their team will think and behave differently. This step is about creating the future.

Step 4: Act and behave in accordance with your stand. Authentic choices lead to new actions and behaviors. Leaders can reinvent their organization by following Steps 1 through 3 and beginning to help their people embrace true commitment. It may be difficult, but if leaders are willing to stay the course, the new actions and behaviors will start to become a part of their organization’s DNA.

Though it may be a tough journey, the process of truly analyzing organizational commitment is necessary. Though it may seem to be an easy way out, choosing to remain blissfully unaware of commitment issues ultimately will cripple an organization. Leaders must ask themselves, “How committed is my team?” and they must be willing to face the reality of the situation.

When a CEO and his or her team undertakes this task of assessing organizational commitment with sincerity and conviction, the added bonus is that it also elevates their own levels of cohesion, trust, and communication.
Gershon Mader is founder and president of Quantum Performance, Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in generating total alignment and engagement in organizations. His transformational work has produced dramatic results for Fortune 500 companies including: a 150 percent year-over-year sales growth, a 95 percent customer satisfaction rating, and a 90 percent employee satisfaction rating—while reducing the organization by 40 percent.


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