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The magic of Commitments

“A leader who does not confront broken commitments encourages polite complacency.” – Fred Kofman. I think about this a lot. Commitment and delivery is the mechanism of TRUST and is the foundation of RESULTS, it can never be trifled with.

Clear commitments are a key part of accountability. When a clear commitment is made, there’s an agreement between people around what needs to be done, by when, and by whom. Others can help keep us accountable but we always need to play our part, we cannot subvert our own responsibility in this relationship.

Commitment starts with our internal commitment to a task.

A trail of broken commitments leads to breakdowns in trust and in culture.

In virtual times (life 2.0 - 2021) how to illicit more commitment from team members who may be remote and frankly semi-disengaged at times?

Make a request that can lead to commitment:

1. Speak in 'I' terms. Such as, "I would like you...." Ask from yourself, versus the ambiguity of "we," and be direct.

2. Explicitly ask for [the thing you need].

3. Determine who owns this. Direct the ask to one person responsible for the request.

4. Set the conditions for satisfaction and completion. What does a successful outcome and timeline look like?

5. Be clear and specific. Leave no room for ambiguity. Make plenty of room for asking clarifying questions.

When someone makes a request of you:

1. Ask for clarification.

2. Counteroffer and negotiate the terms and timeframe.

3. Openly decline.

4. Accept the request as is.

Clarifying questions to help you decide:

1. Do I understand what the other person is asking of me?

2. Do I have the skills and resources to do it?

3. Am I convinced the people I'm going to depend on will deliver for me?

4. Am I willing to be held accountable for hanging in there, navigating the breakdowns, andseeing this thing through?

TRUST consists of three parts: competency, sincerity, and reliability. We need to know that someone can do the thing, is genuine when they say they will do the thing, and has consistently done things and done them well. Making and keeping commitments builds these qualities so that others can trust us.

Keeping commitments puts the team at ease and allows them to do their best work as well. This is an individual thing as much as it is a team thing.

Life is IMPACT

Credit - the good folks, especially Allison Schultz @


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