• Kat O'Sullivan

We are all "committed" . . . but to what???

Updated: May 6



If only people were honest, right?

Each of those words contribute to the outcome we get. It all starts with a decision. The more people have an opportunity to be part of the decision-making process and have their voice heard and valued, the more likely they will commit to making it happen. And, if someone is honest enough to share a different perspective, at least we know where they stand and can go from there. Unfortunately, we often “think” we’ve got Commitment but it’s often wishful thinking on our part.


Dilemma . . . the reality is that most people are conflict averse. When they disagree or just don’t want to do what’s expected, it can result in one of the following responses:

  • Compliance: They say “Yes” when they really mean “No” and they go ahead and do it, but only because they feel they “have to” vs. “want to” which usually results in resentment or anger.

  • Lip Service: This can sound like “Yeah, whatever” and then they go about doing whatever they want, i.e. not what you want and can be an indicator that they don’t really care or they just want to get out of the room.

  • Passive Aggressive: Another form of Lip Service, however, in this case they actively work behind the scenes to undermine what’s expected.

Any one of these three can be a real challenge, especially if you aren’t aware of it. Often, it only becomes obvious when, down the road things are delayed or not getting done at all or at least not in the way you had hoped. When we are caught off guard, i.e. surprised at the results or lack thereof, what is our responsibility in that?

When you're surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible. (Howard Schultz)

As leaders, it is our responsibility to do what it takes to ensure we are get the Commitment we need. It all starts with Clarity. Being clear about what we want, why it’s important, what’s at stake and what our expectations are of them. Then, it’s all about engaging everyone who will be affected in the process. This is the only way to get genuine buy-in. To get that engagement requires the following:

  • Create a safe environment where people feel their voice is respected and valued, i.e. they are willing to speak up and believe they will be heard.

  • Create the opportunity for everyone who will be affected to have a voice, if in fact they do have a voice. Caution . . . don’t ask them for their input unless you are prepared to really listen and genuinely consider their ideas.

  • If their ideas aren’t adopted, be willing to acknowledge that they’ve been heard and share why you decided to go another direction. Anything less than that is counterproductive.

It starts with a shift in our mindset. To address the underlying issue of being conflict averse we need to create a shift in how we perceive those difficult conversations.Be sure to subscribe to our Blog and stay tuned for our next exciting shift . . . from “confrontation” to “conversation.”


In the meantime, share your experiences around getting genuine buy-in . . . what’s worked for you? We’d love to know.


#KSHIFT #GenerationGap

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