Lack of Commitment
Have you ever thought you had a coworker’s commitment to something, but then realized you didn’t? Did you misread your colleague? Did he say he agreed when he really didn’t, to avoid a conflict? How do you know when employee commitment is genuine? And when it isn’t, how do you overcome lack of commitment?
Marina is in charge of strategic planning for her organization, which recently won a sizable award from a lawsuit. The company president has asked Marina and the CFO, Steve, to make preliminary recommendations for how the company should use the funds. In their meetings, Steve has been reluctant to commit. He feels whatever they recommend will be unpopular with some important people within the company. How does Marina overcome lack of commitment and attain Steve’s buy in?
I Thought We Had a Commitment
Steve and Marina were able to hammer out a recommendation, in part, because Marina used the Five-Step Format for discussion to develop ideas they both supported. Now, it’s just a matter of working through Step 5, developing an action plan for completing their task. Steve still seems hesitant, but ultimately agrees.
Four days later, Marina emails Steve, asking how the writing is going. He responds that “something” came up and he won’t be ready by their deadline. He says he’ll need an additional week — but that means the recommendation won’t be ready before the company president leaves town for a couple of weeks.
Marina doesn’t understand. She and Steve worked out a detailed action plan, and he agreed to a timeline. But it turns out she never really had the commitment she thought she did. Keeping in mind that Marina has no authority over Steve, she finds herself wondering how do you overcome lack of commitment?
How Do You Increase Employee Commitment
A. Marina might have been firmer with Steve — he clearly needs a heavier hand, and there’s no need for her reputation to suffer because of his reticence.
B. Marina should just back off. Steve’s not ready to make the final recommendation yet, so why force it? The plan can wait a couple of weeks.
C. Marina could have involved Steve in the action plan, asking him to lay out his ideas for a timeline, and showing him the value of seeing this through to completion.
Here’s Your Q4 Answer!
Hi, I’m Lynne Hayes and I have the Q4 answer.
How Can You Get a Peer to Stick to the Action Plan?
When you use the five-step format to work through a challenging issue, it’s natural to want to wrap it up quickly. After all, you have already resolved all the issues in step four, right?
Employee Involvement in Decision Making
Glossing over the action plan in step five can cause your plan to fall apart rather quickly. Fully involve the other person in creating a mutually acceptable and committed plan. That’s why ‘C’ is the Q4 answer.
Marina could have involved Steve in the action plan, asking him to lay out his ideas for a timeline, and showing him the value of seeing this through to completion.
Although Marina did a great job of getting specific about the timing and responsibilities of the plan, she missed an important element of step five. That was gaining commitment from Steve. She missed really focusing on what’s important for him. What was in it for Steve to complete the action plan? She also should have asked him for some of his own ideas that he would be committed to.
Why is Commitment Important in Step 5?
All along, Steve showed Q2 reluctance to the project. Marina should have started step five by asking him what he thought, what he might be willing to do. She started with a lot of her own suggestions and then got him to agree. What she really should have done is to make sure she got some of his ideas that he could be committed to. That doesn’t mean Marina had to agree with him on everything that he decided. Rather, it means that the more Steve is involved in the plan, the more likely Marina will get employee commitment, because it’s his plan and not hers.
Why is Employee Buy In Important?
Gaining commitment is extremely important when working with peers. We have to get the person’s buy in. We have to make sure we paint a picture so that they know what’s in it for them. Why it’s important to the entire organization because we cannot rely on authority because we don’t have any.
What Should Marina Do Now?
A compromise might be in play here. If Mariana could give up her one-week timeline, that might give Steve more time to come up with a plan that’s more mutually agreeable to both of them. Or perhaps if Steve continues to stall and is resistant against the plan that they have, it’s probably a great time for Marina to go back to step four and really get to the bottom of the issue. That’s a good time to do more probing, ask more questions, and make sure that they are on the same page.
Importance of Commitment
There’s no sense moving forward if Steve and Marina are not in agreement on the action plan. A good step five ends with a mutually agreeable action plan that both parties can be committed to.
In summary, how do you overcome lack of commitment in the workplace? Use the 5 step format and make sure to involve the other person in the step 5 action plan. Resist the temptation to tell him what to do.
Beyond Gaining Employee Commitment
When confronted with the challenge of how do you overcome lack of commitment, you know how to best handle it. Now what?
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