Is Commitment Dead?

There are few character traits more important than commitment. It is a critical ingredient in gaining and sustaining trust. Commitments can galvanize a person’s dependability, reliability, and tenacity when part of a team and is the fuel that powers you to overcome obstacles to achieve personal and professional goals. Commitment is not a short-term endeavor but rather an agreement or pledge to do something in the future, an emotional and intellectual devotion to a course of action or another person, and the assurance that one will stay engaged over long periods of time.

Most would agree that they would want everyone associated with their work or cause to be committed to its purpose. If someone promised you their help, you would expect the individual to follow through on their promise. Commitment is not a “feel good” word. It denotes the willingness to endure pain, hardship, inconvenience, and self-sacrifice to support a team member or attain your objective.

Unfortunately, many pay lip service when they verbally commit to a personal or professional cause. Not long ago, many businesses performed on one’s word or a simple handshake. The verbal exchange or the clasping of hands forged a bond, a commitment to deliver on their agreement. Adherence to their promise was expected, additional checks and balances were not necessary, and reminders were superfluous. Each party would do whatever it took to stay true to their commitment. It was a simpler and more predictable time.

The business environment today is murkier, especially on a global scale. Legal documents force parties to honor their commitments, and many personal commitments are received with a dash of skepticism. After a steady rise in the 1930s and 40s, the use of the word increased exponentially starting in the 50s before peaking in 1993. It has been on a steady decline since. Is the decreased use of the word an indicator that we are less committed as individuals or as a society? Should we no longer count on people to do what they say they will do? In today’s culture, do we have to pay for commitment? Has personal pride, honor, and character disappeared? Regardless of today’s social norm, it does not have to be this way in your business.

Each day, you can revive the power of commitment and have your employees and customers bask in the comfort that you have their back and will be present, ready, and engaged for the long haul. Honor your pledge daily by committing to act with respect, responsibility, and accountability.

You display commitment when you accept a task assignment and deliver the result on time. You honor your commitment to your clients by working until you complete the task and to your promised level of quality. You strengthen trust and reliability when you accomplish a task without needing reminders. You fortify your character when you commit to upholding your personal and organizational values. And commitment is certainly demonstrated when you weather the ups and downs of your industry, showing that you are dedicated to tomorrow as well as today.

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