I have bad news: a tremendous amount of conflict will occur in our lives.
OK, that was a hook; in reality there is no bad news or good news. It is just news and how we react to the news will determine whether the conflict can be turned into a positive, versus a negative.
Keep in mind, it is important to remain focused on the opportunity for success, and not on the potential of failure.
With that said, I will share a realization I recently had. I once believed that there was a solution to every problem; however, I have become aware of one problem with which has no solution.
To reiterate what we all know, a solution is a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation. In my 30 years of training adults and children in personal and professional development, I have come to the realization that there is one problem that cannot be solved. I believe there is no solution to the problem of a commitment to a lack of commitment. And an even bigger problem is not being able to recognize and admit to the lack of commitment.
How do you know when there is a lack of commitment? You will know because the same problems and issues will keep repeating themselves. You stay stuck in the same place and do not advance to the next level.
Quite often when this is occurring, the person demonstrating the lack of commitment will say things like, “I am trying,” “I am not perfect,” or “Be patient with me.” I have even heard someone say, “You knew who I was when you met me, why did you expect something different?”
You cannot fake commitment because over time your lack of commitment is going to blow up in your face. If you committed to a positive attitude, you will not be able to fake a positive attitude because it will be clear when you are being negative. Negativity can be smelled a mile away.
If you committed to be supportive, you will not be able to fake being supportive; it will be clear when you don’t have your team member’s or partner’s back.
If you committed to be effectively communicative, you will not be able to fake being effectively communicative. It will be clear you lack commitment when you do not voice your opinions, hold on to concerns and blow up with emotions after letting thoughts simmer, or when you bring drama into the relationship.
If you committed to be personally responsible for your choices and your actions, you will not be able to fake personal responsibility. Your lack of commitment will be clear when you make excuses and blame others.
When working with teams to build stronger cultures, I have an opportunity to see the effects of a lack of commitment on relationships.
Oftentimes, people raise their hand and say they are committed. It is easy to appear committed when there is no challenging circumstance to overcome; however, when the storms begin to rage, and unforeseen circumstances happen, folks get to demonstrate whether they are truly committed or not.
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When the commitments individuals made are challenged, and they choose to demonstrate a lack of commitment, the fruit they produce in that moment is so definitive that it is obvious there is a lack of commitment. In those moments, it does not matter if they say, “Trust me, I am committed,” because their words do not match their deeds.
If the person demonstrating a lack of commitment recognized they are the problem and desired to make amends, their unspoken “I am sorry” would be manifested in their future behavior. Their actions demonstrating commitment moving forward would weigh more than any words they profess.
Many of the teams I work with have committed to a more positive, productive culture. They have committed to more effective communication. They have committed to accept personal responsibility and to have each other’s back.
It requires little to no effort on your part to demonstrate positivity when nothing negative is occurring. There is no test to your commitment to positivity.
When there are no issues and no need to effectively communicate a concern we have, our commitment to effectively communicate is not challenged.
It requires no effort on your part to be committed to personal responsibility or loyalty when nothing is occurring to challenge your commitment to those things.
If negative shows up and you choose to be negative, you clearly have a lack of commitment to positivity. The question in that moment is what are you committed to do to transform the negative to a positive?
If when these moments occur you deflect or remind the person that is holding you accountable of the times in the past they demonstrated a lack of commitment, or when you blame someone else for not telling you what to do to demonstrate your commitment, that further demonstrates your commitment to a lack of commitment.
There is no solution to a lack of commitment. Commitment means “I will do WIT (whatever it takes) to deliver what I committed to do. It means there will be no acceptable excuses or reasoning as to why I did not keep my commitment.
I have heard people say, “I made a mistake,” “I am sorry,” “I didn’t know that was a problem.” All of these, in the context of this conversation, are excuses. The truth is you made a choice to have a lack of commitment. If you did not see the circumstance that was occurring as a problem, it is simply because you have a lack of commitment. When you are focused on the outcome and committed to that outcome, you will know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate.
In order for us to create a more positive culture, a more connected relationship, to develop trust, we must demonstrate integrity to our commitments.
Let’s be crystal clear: people will not remember how committed you were in the good times, when the sun was shining. However, they will never forget how committed you were when things fell apart. They will never forget when you got out of your comfort zone and did whatever it took to demonstrate your commitment. They will never forget how you had their back and supported them in moments of need. They will always remember when you stepped up and showed up in the greatest times of need. It is in those moments that authentic trust is created in the relationship.
Conversely, when you demonstrate a lack of commitment in those moments, trust is damaged. Like a car leaking oil, it will imminently drain dry and the engine will burn up and be destroyed. When you have a lack of commitment, you will destroy the relationship.
There is no solution to the problem of lack of commitment; there is no excuse for it.
How do you know if you are committed? It will be clear that you are committed because of your demonstrated behaviors. The fruit of your behaviors will produce the committed outcome. I encourage you to stay true to your commitments and you will create an enviable culture at work and at home.