Your coworker, Charlie, has just submitted his third project to you past its deadline. Not only have the projects been late, but they have been sloppily put together with errors and typos amok.
You start complaining to your other coworker about Charlie’s behavior, “Charlie never submits his projects on time. And, with all the mistakes in them, he doesn’t even care about his work.”
Most people at work experience something similar to the short scene above. In many company cultures, it is commonplace for people relate to one another by their behaviors and actions. People are quick to form opinions and judgments and will completely write someone off as in the scenario above. When people continually relate to one another as the opinions or judgement they have of each other, the results can be devastating within a company. Trust is eroded, and a culture of complaining, pointing fingers, and forming snap judgement is created.
At Gabriel Consulting, we believe that extraordinary cultures produce extraordinary results. In low performing organizations, people relate to each other as their opinions and judgments, but in high performing organizations people relate to each other as their commitments.
So what is a commitment? A commitment is a bold statement, an audacious stand, a risky stake in the ground. Your commitment statement encompasses your core characteristics and what others can count on you to execute. At Gabriel Consulting, we have helped hundreds of companies transform their culture through articulating core attributes and committed accountabilities.
My core attributes are________, _________, _________, __________,
and I am committed to ________, __________, _________, __________.
Here’s an example of a commitment statement from one of our very own employees, Travis.
“My core attributes are selflessness, love, joy, supportiveness, and passion.
I am committed to engage my peers with servant leadership in pursuit of their ultimate dreams, to always uphold and strengthen the culture of our team, and to complete all projects on time, with a ridiculous attention to detail.”
In high performing organizations, not only do all employees generate commitment statements, but they articulate and declare them in front of their peers. In many of the organizations with which we work, all employees publicly post their commitment statements by their desks, so everyone in the organization knows who is committed to what.
In commitment based cultures, people relate to each other from commitment to commitment even when, and especially when, actions do not align with commitments. Instead of engaging in complaining conversations, coworkers engage in coaching conversations with each other. It looks something like “Hey, Travis. I know you’re committed to completing all your projects on time with attention to detail, but I noticed this last project was submitted a day late and contained some errors. Can we talk about that? How can I support you in your commitment?”
Instead of forming a snap judgement about Travis because of his recent behaviors, others in the organization are afforded the opportunity--indeed are actually invited-- to coach Travis constructively by relating to him as his commitment. In low performing organizations, Travis is written off, “he doesn’t care about his work or this company,” but in high performing organizations, Travis is coached back into alignment with his commitments by a peer or supervisor who is willing to engage him with candor and care. The difference is staggering and transformative.
Imagine, for a moment, your organization with a commitment based culture. Your employees are in touch with themselves, their core values and the values of your organization. Each person is engaged and invigorated, showing up to work as the best version of themselves. They have articulated what they can be trusted to execute and complete. Everybody in your organization knows who is committed to what, acting in service of your company’s vision. Each person is held accountable to a commitment they themselves have created by a constant network of mutual awareness and support. They are willing to be coached in their commitments, and to live into them on a daily basis.
High performing organizations operate with commitment based cultures. Extraordinary cultures produce extraordinary results.