Commitment involves rising above our own needs and perspectives to grab hold of a greater good.
Standing for something greater relates directly to the values and vision of an organization. A leader’s stance for something greater not only meets his or her personal desires, but it strongly resonates with peers, direct-reports, and others who have a stake in the organization.
Just having personal commitment to a great cause is not enough for a leader. The vision for “something beyond” must be successfully transferred to the entire group, whether it be a small staff, a department, an entire organization, a state, or a nation.
Many companies start with the right motivation. They talk about their values and they create high aspirations, but these same companies don’t really live by them. People do not like to be put in boxes, and just as important, people do not like to be in the dark, outside the door where company values and vision are shaped. People are less energized and tend to drift when they are unsure of how they should be operating within an organization. People need to see their leaders’ commitment to values, and they want a part in helping to shape their organization’s core values and vision.
Leaders who form corporate values, vision, and strategy in a vacuum or just in the executive suite lack the humility and commitment to move beyond themselves and include others who have solid ideas and opinions on what should define the company’s values. When leaders don’t talk about the company’s values and vision, people feel alienated and less energized.
When working to plant a vision and sense of a greater cause in a team, you must first ensure that values are understood and owned. This is accomplished initially by cataloging the personal values of individual team members. When the personal values of individuals are understood, team values begin to emerge.