Thursday, May 27, 2010

Types of Commitment

There are different kinds and different levels of commitment. My favorite analogy is about the bacon and eggs breakfast. The chicken was involved, but the hog was committed.

Some people seem to never commit to anything, while others are quick to commit and just as quickly, uncommit. Others are slow to commit, but once a decision is made they go all out. I’m in the last group.

A number of years ago my wife and I were involved with a weekly Bible Study group. We met every Thursday night for about seven years. We only missed once or twice during that time and only because we were gone on vacation. There were six couples and it was rare when all twelve of us were there. This was always a mystery to me why people couldn’t commit.

I eventually figured out that some people commit to people and some to the event. To us, the Bible study was only a little important but the relationships were extremely important. We were committed to the people, not the event. It was easy to blow-off the event, but we couldn’t let our friends down, even though they consistently showed us through their actions that we weren’t all that important to them.

In a business setting we try to commit to an event, a product, or a service, but more often than not, we are really committed to the people. That is why when a procedure is put ahead of relationships, there is friction. We do business with people we like. The best companies hire for personality and train for skill, not the other way around.

Some personality types do tend to commit more to events. Here is a little test. Assume that you and a friend are planning to do something together, say go to a movie, and that person has to cancel. Do you go anyway, find someone else to go with you, or reschedule a time to go with your friend? Of course situations vary, but there is probably a trend. You are probably either committed to an event or schedule, or to people.

A few years ago I was on the board of not-for profit organization and we made a conscience decision to stop being event driven and start being people driven. I am not sure we accomplished much more, we were a lot happier and left less bodies in our wake.

I am not sure that one way is best, but it helps to understand that there is a difference.