As I’m winding down the research to prepare the discussion of what commitment means to a leader this week (using John C Maxwell’s 21 Qualities of a Leader materials), I am finding that when I Bing or Google “business examples of commitment”, it is difficult to find positive examples of commitment. Search results come back stating this business person committed suicide, this business person committed fraud, etc. Is it possible that business leaders are able to commit to anything positive? I keep thinking about the Enron example where it is obvious that their leadership team commitments were out of line and incorrect information was communicated to the stakeholders. A little ironic if you look at Wikipedia’s definition of commitment which means to show loyalty, duty or pledge to something or someone. With these negative examples of commitment, I often wonder what was on these people’s minds for true commitment.
In a world of where so many things appear to be gray, commitment is one of those few things in life that, at the present time, still is defined in “black and white” terms. I did find a correlation with corporate responsibility through the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) as they mention that in-order for a business to join the organization, the CEO/Board of Directors must be committed to managing its activities in a responsible way in a group consensus with conviction and this must be communicated to the stakeholders. Why do we always hear about CEOs and Board of Directors managing business activities in a “non-responsible” way? Are there more negative examples of commitment vs positive examples of commitment – or we a society that dwells so much on the negative until that is the only examples that are published?
I also think about the upcoming trend in the work place that as the economy improves, a mass change will be made in the work force. It seems like everyone is contemplating the idea of changing employers. However, I tend to ask this question, what are businesses doing to re-evaluate their commitments to their associates in-order to retain them?
One thing about commitment, it calls for a person to be very action oriented. By that, I mean, while you may say one thing, your actions will always show what your top commitments are. I like John’s example that he makes reference in his book of Thomas Eddison’s philosophy of commitment, he always announced what he was going to invent, and then made the invention. It is quite obvious to see what Eddison’s commitment was, to never give up (even 2,000 attempts later in creating the light bulb)!!