Exploring the Five Behaviors: Commitment

As we continue to explore the Five Behaviors of A Cohesive Team ™, this month we’re looking at Commitment and what it means to the success of an organization.

If you haven’t already, take a moment to tune back into our previous posts on Trust and Conflict.


What Is Commitment?

It is the ability for team members to commit to shared decisions for the greater good of the organization.

As a leader, you need your team to get fully on-board with the direction the organization needs to go and the decisions that must be implemented to get there.

Unfortunately, it is not as simple as yelling “all aboard.” And you can’t just plow full steam-ahead, leaving your team behind.

According to best-selling author Patrick Lencioni, for team members to commit, they need both clarity and buy-in.

True commitment requires a foundation of Trust, and the ability for team members to productively work through Conflict to reach an optimal decision.

Lencioni says, “If people have the opportunity to weigh in they will buy in.”

Commitment does not require that everyone totally agrees with the direction or a decision.

However, it does require that they have the opportunity to have their ideas heard. Therefore, they will be more willing to support the decision even if they are not in full agreement.


Your Team Needs Clarity to Commit.

You can improve buy-in and get your team to commit by being clear and specific.

As a business owner, CEO or leadership team you must be clear on your desired outcome. It does not matter if the desired outcome is the five-year vision for the company or a new supplies ordering process, you must be clear on what you want and why.

And you must clearly communicate the desired outcome.

People are only able to truly commit and understand decisions when they know what is expected of them and why it is important.


A few points to consider about clarity are:

  • Why is the decision important for the organization as a whole?
  • How does this decision impact individual departments and team members?
  • What is required, individually and collectively to achieve our desired decision?


Commitment Requires Buy-in.

Buy-in is only achieved when every participant feels like they are part of the decision.

According to a study done by Inscape Publishing (now a division of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), a factor highly related to  job satisfaction is “a chance to have my opinion heard and considered.” Not adopted – just considered.

Buy-in requires healthy conflict. I find allowing the kind of dialogue and debate required for people to truly buy-in is one of the most difficult things for the leaders I work with to do.

It is as if they fear that by allowing team members to ask questions, express concerns and give input, they will lose control of the situation.

If, after sharing their perspectives, staff are still reluctant to get on board, try asking this question: “What would it take for you to buy into and support this decision?” And then really listen.

Without buy-in, there can be no commitment.

When your team knows what is expected of them, they will: understand the reason for a decision; and feel involved in the decision-making process. As a result, they will more readily commit.

If your team is struggling with Commitment, ask yourself where they stand on Trust and Conflict.

Do team members trust one another and feel safe to speak up?

Are they able to engage in healthy, productive conflict?


If you want to improve Commitment on your team, I can help.

Let’s schedule a conversation to explore how The Five Behaviors ™ can work for your team.


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