Do You Suffer from Commitment?


Thanks for reading! Earlier on my blog I talked about the dangers of commitment in leaders and how this character trait could ruin their organization, I call it the Commitment Trap.

Tip: Read Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

No matter how committed you are, when the wrong strategy is carried out to fruition there are major implications on one’s business. The biggest problem is, of course, that you often don’t know until it’s too late.

Here are a few tips on how you can protect yourself and your organization from being committed to a bad strategy:

  • Be Humble. If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re going to fall into the commitment trap. You have to have humility to hire better people than yourself whether those are mentors or staff. Good people help you will realize your short-comings and you’ll be more open to feedback and insight. Your decisions will also be group decisions and therefore not involve your self-image to the same degree.
  • Stay Paranoid. In his book Great by Choice, Jim Collins shows how great companies (10x market earnings) often have a culture of “productive paranoia”. They are always looking at what could go wrong, what are the risks and are willing to submit to change if required.
  • Keep an eye on Leading Indicators. What are the metrics you are watching that will confirm the direction you’re heading? Prospect leads? Sales volume? Consumer trends? Market data? Who reviews the evidence and when do they perform this analysis? If you’re only looking back at sales and profit, you’ll never see the curve in the road ahead. Have a metric to “pull out” if the signals are not favourable.
  • Ensure a Readiness for Change through Education. The more you learn the more you realize the need for change. Your people have to catch that understanding themselves. This is why personal and professional development plans are critical for everyone in the organization so that they are better today and more prepared for the changes tomorrow.

So… as you go through your day consider this: commitment is a good thing as long as what you’re committed to actually sets you in the right direction and can be backed up with a sound strategy. And when that fails, get someone to set you straight.