The Point: In my “BEST Leader in 30 Days” leadership development program that’s soon to be released at my 501(c)(3) structured nonprofit, one of the five practices areas that will make you the BEST leader possible surrounds the concept of commitments. In theory, commitments are a relatively straight-forward concept. Simply stating what you are going to do and then doing it is far from straight-forward or simple in practice though. So, we started thinking at Tip of the Spear and The Javelin Institute, what if we strive for perfection when it comes to the commitments we make as leaders? So, in this post, we’ll explore the leadership challenge of commitments and provide one perfect tip… Enjoy! (If you’d like more info on the “BEST Leader in 30 Days” program, please email me at email@example.com)
Making Commitments is Easy… Keeping Them Though… Another Story!
I once had a conversation with a leader that smoked cigarettes and wanted to quit. He was one of the most brilliant leaders I’ve had the opportunity to work with… Smart, driven, detailed would be a few of the competencies I’d use to describe him. When he said he was going to do something, all of his stakeholders agreed that he would do what he said. So, with this level of commitment to everyone else, I wondered how it was that he couldn’t keep this no smoking commitment to himself?
One afternoon during a week when we were working together, I asked him how quitting smoking was working. He looked at me and said “Sam, I’ve been smoking since I was eleven. Quitting smoking is the easiest thing I’ve ever done!” With that statement he reached into his pocket and lit up a brand-new cigarette from a box of Marlboro reds. It begged for a follow-up, “I’m confused… Why then are you smoking?” As he took a long drag on his freshly lit cigarette he stated “You see, quitting isn’t the difficult part. Staying quit is. I’ve quit smoking a thousand times!”
I share this story to point out that leadership commitments, a lot like the decision to quit smoking, is an easier said than done moment for most. What passes through the lips often is how your judged regarding whether or not you actually do what you say.
The Perfect Commitment – 1 Perfect Tip!
If you’ve ever struggled with making a commitment and then following-through and actually doing it, I’d like to share with you a strategy. It’s a strategy that I learned as a result of going through a leadership development program a few years back. The key as it turns out isn’t just making a commitment to yourself but publicizing it through the act of writing it down and sharing with others. It’s in this sharing with others-phase where they will hold you accountable towards executing your commitment made.
However, with all that accountability aside, you have to pledge to yourself that you will be the best version of you possible. This best version of you consists of taking a responsibility pledge in order to keep commitments. The “Responsibility Pledge” I was taught reads:
The Responsibility Pledge
I accept complete responsibility for myself, my life, my family, my financial situation, and everything that happens to me.
I am a completely free, proud, self-reliant individual. I look to myself for the answers to my questions and the solutions to my problems.
I am a complete optimist. I look for the good in every situation. I seek the valuable lesson in every setback or obstacle. I think about my goals and how I can achieve them most of the time. I focus on the solution rather than the problem.
I am not a victim. I refuse to complain, condemn, or criticize. If I am not happy with a situation, I take action to change it. I blame no one for any aspect of my life.
I recognize that there is a fair and full price that must be paid for anything worthwhile. I do not try to get something for nothing. I refuse to accept something for nothing, and I do not support any person, process, or policy that attempts to give me or anyone else anything to which I or they are not justly entitled to as the result of personal hard work and sacrifice.
I am a successful, happy person. I am grateful for my life and my opportunities. I believe that everything in the universe is conspiring to make me happier, healthier, and more prosperous.
I have an attitude of gratitude toward everyone and everything.
Having this “Responsibility Pledge” and reviewing it to start with daily (and subsequently weekly) I have found acts as a foundation for not only commitment making, but commitment completion. NOTE: I’m typically the first to wave off daily mantras or pledges, but in this instance if you’re a leader that struggles with the leadership challenge of commitments, I recommend that you give it a shot as I have.
In this post, we’ve explored the leadership challenge of commitments. While making commitments as a leader can be simple and straight-forward, completing them can be complex and far from straight-forward. Utilizing “The Responsibility Pledge” as a tool to help not only frame better commitments you make, but to help implement/execute them could be exactly what the leader you want to become needs in order to succeed.
PS – 2020 will be here before we know it, and I see some disturbing Leadership-trends taking place. If you’d like to receive a white paper I wrote on “5 Ways Your Leadership Will Fail in 2020” CLICK HERE.
PPSS – As we pass the halfway point of 2019, I’ve launched my most aggressive initiative to date. It’s a 501(c)(3) structured nonprofit that provides Executive Education and Coaching to allow you to become the BEST leader possible (NOT Good, NOT Better… but BEST!). Launched in July 2019, I’m allowing 2 people in my network to “test-drive” the offering. If you’d like more information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.