Clearly articulate and support your organization’s absolute commitments—your lines in the sand
The Dale Carnegie Business Group takes a stand that “all people are committed.” As simple as this sounds, it’s a viewpoint more uncommon than you might think.
How often have you heard, “some people just aren’t committed to this initiative, they don’t buy into it”? A person who thinks from this position will spend obscene amounts of time trying to differentiate the “committed” from the “uncommitted.” They will treat most people as if they are not committed, and expect them to prove their commitment. This leads to excessive actions to secure buy-in (compliance).
What a waste of energy!
In contrast, beginning a meeting having already decided everyone is committed (to something) and focusing on connecting to others’ commitments through your ears, not your PowerPoint slides, is like day and night.
This is critical since, on behalf of achieving desired results, we ask people to change how they do things. Without taking a stand that “people are committed,” we'd waste precious time and resources on traditional buy-in techniques that inadvertently communicate a basic disrespect for what most people truly value.
This stand lets us focus on what’s truly important to our clients, what they value, and how a change effort can succeed based on aligning what each person values with what the enterprise aspires to achieve.
Radical Shifts in Thinking
A retail client takes a stand for giving customers the best value for their money. When a manager contended that the company had the “best quality,” one of the owners gently, but firmly, corrected him by saying: “We give our customers the best value for their money. We strive to provide fresh, high-quality produce, but our commitment is the best value for the money.”
It’s an important distinction, and a platform on which buying and selling decisions are made.
Another radical shift in thinking for that retailer was turning a faltering “waste reduction” program into a “wealth creation” initiative.
Let’s compare the two. Trying to drive out waste creates actions to seek and destroy waste. As waste is driven out, the focus on the details needed to sustain the outcome goes down. The organization starts shifting attention onto other things. This leads to an increase in waste, which leads to extra effort to re-energize the drive-out-waste initiative. Implied messages that people are not supporting the program lead to attempts to get them to “buy in,” which leads to resentment and push back. On and on it goes!
In contrast, here is that company’s stand on waste: “We take what used to be waste and turn it into wealth. We share that wealth with our customers, employees, and partners.”
This is a create/share the wealth process, rather than a carrot/stick bribe initiative. This simple shift in context reduced waste by over a million dollars with sustainable outcomes.
Creating the organization of our dreams is not a seek and destroy process, it’s a design and build process.
Even if you’re not trying to make over your organization, we invite you to revisit your stands. What are the three or four things that are absolute commitments—lines in the sand? Avoid the use of platitudes, vague concepts, and ideal scenarios.
We promise that the clear articulation and support of stands will raise engagement, save hours of wasted conversations, connect people at the level of commitment, and help them express their highest aspirations and deepest values through their work. As an organization, what stands do you take?
We take a stand for ___________________.
Dave Mather is a 40-year veteran Dale Carnegie business coach. His columns can be read at www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/dave-mather