Teams don’t win by accident; they cannot simply rely on their talent to take them to the top. Winning teams display strong, durable commitment—both to a common cause and to one another. This commitment inspires them to persevere through setbacks and to make the sacrifices necessary to succeed.
Commitment to a Common Cause
Commitment to a common cause develops through a series of stages. Only when the final stage has been reached does a person fully “buy in” to the leader’s vision.
Many leaders mistakenly believe people have bought into the vision when they understand and agree with it. However, being convinced is not the same as being committed—it’s only the initial stage. I can think of dozens of causes that I know all about, and greatly admire, but to which I am not committed or even remotely connected.
When people put their time and money into a vision, then they have a greater level of involvement with it. Yet, while they may support the vision, they still are not completely committed to it. For example, we may send a donation to a worthy charity, and even volunteer with it occasionally, and yet not lose sleep over its long-term success or failure.
At the ownership phase, people feel responsible for the fate of the vision and have become particularly invested in it. They have given enough of their blood, sweat, and tears to develop a stake in its success. They have an emotional tie to the vision and care deeply about seeing it come to pass. Yet even at this stage, a person is not entirely committed to the cause.
When someone can’t stop talking about the vision, sharing it with their friends and recruiting others to take part in it, they have finally reached full commitment. You can hear the passion in their voice and see the excitement on their face when they talk about the vision. Moreover, the passion doesn’t fade—it’s lasting enthusiasm rather than momentary hype. By this point, the vision matters to them and has become a significant part of their life. They are not selling it for self-advancement; they are spreading the word about the cause because they genuinely believe in its worth.
Thoughts to Ponder
What level of commitment do the people in your organization have to its vision? What level of commitment do your customers or clients have to your company’s vision?