Level Three Commitment: Winning BIG In 2018
The CEO said, “No matter what I say, they still do whatever they want. It’s maddening. And our performance is suffering greatly because of it.” I replied, “What you tolerate will sink your entire organization.”
I’ve seen this happen so many times, you wouldn’t believe it. This is why aligned and clear senior leadership is necessary for organizations to flourish. How else can the management team, and all employees, know what is expected to achieve continuous and sustainable profitable growth success?
But where does all-important alignment and clarity emanate from? Purpose, of course! Still, once true north is forged – easily one of the hardest things the C-suite will ever design – the “purpose engine” needs sturdy pistons to drive it forward each day.
Those pistons have often been described as core values. You know, that meaningless, laminated list that lies dormant inside people’s desks that never sees the light of day? Let’s call that Level One Commitment, which, of course, is no commitment at all. Think of how many companies have core values yet still underperform, or become obsolete. Need any more proof that this dog won’t hunt?
Level Two Commitment – core behaviors – is what I prescribed in Clean Slate, because “do” is action-oriented and more powerful than mere values. There
I’ve studied industry leaders for decades, and here’s what I now subscribe to, something we’ll call Level Three Commitment: Obsession(s).
Since purpose, mission and vision equate to organizational fitness, then “obsession” has a natural home here. Think of a personal trainer. Would you prefer a fitness coach that behaves in a predetermined, rote manner, or one who is clearly obsessed with her, and your overall health?
Five Rules of Obsession (including but not limited to):
- Obsession is a soaring expectation. There’s no room here for weakness here. Think of the most obsessed person you’ve ever known (in a good way). That’s just the floor. If you want to design, develop and deliver a veritable monopoly, then ramp up your “obsession game” from there. Level Three Commitment is reserved for champions.
- No wavering allowed. Obsessed leaders – think Sheryl Sandberg, Tony Robbins or Steve Jobs – hold people (organizations) accountable to their core obsessions. Jobs, as we know, was maniacally obsessed with design and user experience. He would regularly dismiss products that didn’t deliver on those obsessions, driving his leadership team nuts. Of course, Apple’s results speak for themselves.
- Two is the magic number. If you end up with five obsessions, you really have none. Pixar obsesses over “Story is king” and “Trust the process.” That’s why their movies, like the current blockbuster Coco, always debut at #1. Watering down of obsessions is prohibited.
- Never walk by a problem. While I’ve lived this basic tenet in my own leadership career, it becomes super-important when dealing with obsessions. Is customer delight your obsession? Then don’t tolerate poor treatment of customers. How about quality, or hiring the right people? Same story. This rule is directly correlated to what you will and won’t tolerate as a CEO or business owner.
- Hire, fire, promote, reward, recognize and discipline based on core obsessions. Why? While the reasons should be obvious, I’ll give you one that you may not think of: Your competition will never think or behave this way. Please remember, your greatest ally in business is your competition, because you can depend on them to live in a world of sameness, afraid of change (and obsessions), and that spells O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y for you!
NOTE: If you’d like to learn more about obsession, please pick up a copy of Clean Slate, now available on Amazon for KINDLE.