How many times do you see people sit in a meeting (virtual or otherwise) and say they are committed to a decision or direction and then leave the meeting and their behavior clearly shows they are not.
They roll their eyes in agreement when their team indicates they don't agree with the decision, or are overheard saying, "Well, that's what the higher ups want to do so I guess we are doing it."
Right now, more than ever, we are witnessing the importance of leaders being fully committed to the organization's direction.
As we navigate these new challenges our teams are looking for safety and security from the leadership team. Security comes when they know all the leaders are on the same page and pulling together in the same direction.
In Patrick Lencioni's book "Five Dysfunctions of a Team" he talks about how lack of 'true' commitment can derail a team very quickly and how imperative it is for strong teams to work hard to gain commitment.
A common misconception is that gaining commitment means you need to have 100% consensus on all decisions. If this were the case, no business would get done! Lencioni talks about two important aspects of commitment being buy-in and clarity.
Buy-in is not consensus rather it is the ability to defy consensus.
Buy-in is about everyone's voice and opinion being heard and hotly debated. It is about encouraging people to raise their issues and come to a resolution about how they do or do not fit into the current direction.
Ultimately the leader needs to make the final decision, a decision that not everyone is going to agree with.
However most people can buy-in even if they don't agree if they believe their voice has been heard and their opinion taken into serious consideration.
Lencioni says, "Most reasonable people don’t have to get their way in a discussion, they just need to be heard and to know their input was considered and responded to."
Clarity is about removing assumptions and ambiguity from a situation. It is about creating an environment that invites people to challenge a decision from all angles.
Once a decision has been made it is then about everyone walking away with the same interpretation of the decision being made...no assumptions, no exceptions, no confusion.
You know you have achieved clarity when team members clearly understand the task, why they are doing it and their responsibilities around carrying it out.
In his video, L. Darryl Armstrong explains that commitment can be built through showing employees what success looks and feels like, why it is beneficial for them and their company/organization when the walls are broken down and everyone is focusing very clearly on organizational goals.
2 Questions to Ask Yourself Today
Take a look inside yourself and honestly answer the following two questions:
- What haven't I really bought in to in my organization?
- What do I need to know, what questions do I need to ask, what do I need to clarify, in order to buy-in and demonstrate I am committed?
I saw this quote the other day and thought it was very fitting,
"There are only two options regarding commitment: you are either in or you're out. There's no such thing as life in between!"
If you are in between everyone will know. It will not only impact your ability to lead well it will impact your team's sense of safety and security.
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