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Home » Random

The Power of Strategic Commitment

Achieving Extraordinary Results Through TOTAL Alignment and Engagement

Too often the output of a two day strategic planning session can be described as “when you go off-site as a team, agree on a bunch of priorities for the year, then go back to work and do what you were going to do anyway.”

The Power of Strategic Commitment is a new business book which looks at commitment as a strategic advantage.

Many leaders focus on acquiring and nurturing top talent, market leadership and execution of strategy. Either separately or as a combination, these initiatives will never achieve thier ultimate value without commitment.

The Power of Strategic Commitment is a new book by authors Josh Leibner, Gershon Mader and Alan Weiss. The authors argue that like most business issues, the level of commitment you can expect from your employees will be determined by what’s projected from the top. [Read an interview with the authors]

What Drives Commitment

The authors identify 2 major drivers of commitment. Content and Context. Content the authors argue is what most executives understand, however, context is usually ignored. However, strategic commitment only occurs when employees are passionately sharing in the ownership and accountability for achieving new levels and standards ie. they ‘get it’

Content falls into two halves – validity and clarity.

Validity – is about ensuring that management is instrumental in creating the right strategy for the organisation and not some ‘boiler plate’ strategy devised by consultants.

Clarity is about ensuring that the right message gets diseminated to all levels of the organisation. However, the authors argue that the seemingly straightforward idea of getting everyone on the same page is not effectively implemented in many organisations.

There are 4 drivers of context:

1. credibility and sincerity

2. Courage and resolve

3. Competency

4. Care and concern

The following Iceberg chart shows which aspects of commitment relate to each other and that addressing the elements below the iceberg is the key to ensuring that commitment takes hold.


Content drivers

clarity – do I understand it?

Validity – do I think it’s right?

Context drivers:

Credibility: Do I believe them?

Courage: Do they have guts?

Competency: Do they know what to do?

Concern: Do they care?

Why should you care that they don’t care?

Organisations whose strategy is valid and clear (high on content) but whose employees don’t turst their leaders credibiity, courage, competence and care (low on context) will at best produce an environment of uninspired compliance. While employeeds may well understand the plan and believe it’s right, they won’t believe theat their leaders will be able to implement the plan. Often employees willl resort to ‘going along’ with little sense of ownership, enthusisam or commitment. In the absence of ownership and accountabiliyt, the leadership team will resort to managing through dictate, mandate, command and control.

In organisations where context is high and content low, employees will be highly motivated to make a weak strategy work.

When both content and context are low, employee morale will hit rock bottom. Believing in neither the plan nor the leaders behind it, employees will be cynical and oppositional.

However, in organisations where both content and context are both high, everyone will believe in the plan and the leaders ability to make it happen. This will produce a state of strategic commitment – ie one where everyone understands and believes in the strategy and feels total ownership and accountability to make it happen.

Strategic Commitment reflects the marriage of Strategy and Commitemnt. Strategy without Commitment is Theory; Commitment without strategy is hype.

The power of Strategic Commitment argues the case that as a leader you should assess where you are in achieving Strategic Commitment and indeed, they provide a template (The Strategic Commitment Scorecard) to do this. The questions that you need to ask become:

1. Where do we stand and is there room for improvement?

2. How do we sustain and nurture our strategic commitment once we’ve got it?

3. With whom do these accountabilities reside?

There is no compliance for leaders. Leaders must commit, or get out of the way.

When creating your vision, you need to ensure that your managemet team, your workers understand what you’re trying to do. The Power of Strategic Commitment will help put you and your leadership team on the right track.

You can buy the book The Power of Strategic Commitment from Amazon.

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