by: Jeff Earlywine
There are many dynamics that go into making a great team. Dynamics such as chemistry, talent, unity, and the list could go on and on. However, there is one dynamic that many teams, businesses, and leaders often overlook. That dynamic is commitment. Without each individual person in the organization, including yourself, being totally committed to the organization it will never reach its potential.
I was recently in a meeting where the speaker spoke on the subject of being committed. He felt strongly that each person should be committed to the one leading the organization. In his situation this person was his senior pastor, but it could have been an executive director, president, foreman, coach, or boss.
History is full of organizations that failed to reach their potential because members of the team were not committed. The sad part is that this is allowed to go on, many times unnoticed in every area of the organization.
In most organizations you have three groups of people. There is a board or governing body that usually doesn’t get involved in the day-to-day activities. Then you have the leaders. These people could range from senior vice presidents to assembly line foreman. Lastly, you have the people that are on the front lines getting the job done. Each person in each of these groups must be committed.
With the three groups identified, some time must be spent discussing the definition of commitment and what each person should be committed to. Granted, this could take volumes to explain, I have purposely only hit the highlights.
What does it mean to be committed? The speaker that I previously referred to explained it this way. When asked, “What is your vision? What is the passion in your heart? Where do you see yourself in five years?” His answer to these questions is always, “My vision, passion, and future is the same as my senior pastor.” This feeling and commitment level is consistent throughout all of this organization’s staff. Thus, explaining why they are one of the most influential churches in America.
Pat Williams, in his book The Magic of Team Work defined commitment this way.
- Loyalty: Commitment to each other on the team.
- Sense of mission: Commitment to the team vision or cause. The team vision will never become a reality until the players rally around it, commit to it, and bend their backs to make that vision a tangible reality.
- Class: Commitment to quality and excellence.
- Competitiveness: Commitment to winning. How you play the game is important, but winning at the end of the day is success. After all, your team is not committed to just play well, but they are committed to win.
- Accountability: Commitment to continual improvement. Accountability is absolutely essential to the health and success of any team. A team without accountability is not truly a team; it’s just a collection of individuals pursuing their own goals.
- Mental toughness: Commitment to hustling and finishing.
- Self-discipline: Commitment to control and self-mastery. This means being committed to conquering your own plays, weaknesses, procrastination, appetites, and laziness. It means being tough on ourselves, denying ourselves some things we want for the moment in order to win what we want for all time.
How about your level of commitment? As you read the following put yourself in the group in which you belong.
- Board or governing body. At this level of leadership in the organization each person in this group must be committed to the vision and mission. It is not uncommon for this group of people to be the ones that chart the course and hold the senior leadership accountable to accomplishing the stated goals. The members of this group must also be committed to the leadership that is charged with accomplishing the organization’s vision and mission.
- Leadership in the organization. This group of people must also be committed to the vision and mission but they must also be committed those in which they lead.
- Front Line. Those who are on the front lines, the largest of the three groups, must be committed not only to the vision and mission, but also to their leadership. This brings us to a critical juncture. In order for the leadership to be committed to the vision and mission they must know what it is. They must know where they are going and the steps it will take to get there. Also, in order for those on the front line to embrace and follow the leader they must be convinced that he or she knows where the organization is going. As Dr. John C. Maxwell says, “No one wants to go on a trip with a person that is lost.”
Now, what do you do if your level of commitment is not what it should be? What do you do if you are a member of a board and you don’t totally believe in its vision or mission? What do you do if you are in leadership and don’t believe your board is guiding the organization in the correct direction or you have a staff member that is not committed to you or the organization. Lastly, what do you do if are on the front lines and have realized that you are not a committed team player? The answers are simple, but the actions and consequences are difficult. The way I see it you have one of two choices, and they both have to do with change.
- Change your attitude, direction, philosophy, mentality, or staff.
- Change to another organization.
I fully realize that these are strong words. However, these are words that Christ demonstrated all throughout His life and put closure to in John 17, verses 4-5, “I brought glory to you here on earth by dong everything you told me to do. And now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.”
Regardless if you are the coach of a professional basketball team, a staff member of a ministry, or a CEO of a fortune 500 corporation you owe it to the organization to give it one hundred percent of your time, talent, and commitment. Anything less will hinder the organization from achieving its vision and mission and will very possibly keep it from accomplishing its goals.