Achieving Commitment

As outlined in this month’s newsletter, I will expand on “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team” model by Patrick Lencioni in my blog. The first two behaviors were covered in previous blog entries (Trust and Conflict). I will now cover the third one, Achieving Commitment.\r\n\r\nLike Trust, Conflict is important because it enables a team to work on the third behavior: Achieving Commitment. When team members are unwilling to share their opinions, there is a high likelihood that they’re not going to commit to the decisions made by the team.\r\n\r\nA team that fails to commit:\r\n• Creates ambiguity among team members about direction and priorities\r\n• Watches windows of opportunity close due to analysis-paralysis and unnecessary delay\r\n• Raises lack of confidence and fear of failure\r\n• Unnecessarily reconsiders decisions over and over\r\n\r\nConversely, teams that commit to decisions do so because they know how to embrace two separate but related concepts: buy-in and clarity.\r\n• Buy-in is the achievement of honest, emotional support for a decision. I have seen many cases where reaching consensus is not realistic. The potential risk is to achieve false consensus: instead of discussing the conflict, team members pretend to be in agreement and move on. Commitment is about a group of individuals buying in to a decision when they don’t agree. In other words, it’s the ability to confront a lack of consensus. To drive commitment, strong leaders first extract every possible idea, opinion, and perspective from team members. Then, comfortable that nothing has been left off the table, they have the courage and wisdom to make a decision, one that is sure to run counter to at least one of the team members and usually more.\r\n\r\n• Clarity requires that teams avoid assumptions and ambiguity and that they end discussions with a clear understanding about their final decisions. In practical terms, I always recommend ending discussions with a clear articulation of the traditional action plan of who does what by when. Usually that’s all that is required to avoid ambiguity.\r\n\r\nNext Monday I will cover the fourth behavior: Embracing Accountability. Stay tuned!\r\n\r\nPercy M. Cannon\r\\r\n\r\ncoaching

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