Quote of the Week – Without involvement, there is no commitment. Mark it down, asterisk it, circle it, or underline it. No involvement, no commitment. Stephen R. Covey
Best known as the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen R. Covey packed a lot of wisdom into his books. Covey was tentative about many of his suggestions. However, he certainly didn’t waiver on the connection he saw between involvement and commitment!
Employees often push back against managers who prescribe what to do without first seeking their input. Likewise, teens and young adults quietly or openly rebel against parents who don’t seek their input first before imposing a “path” they want them to follow.
Norman R.F. Maier, one of the first psychologists to focus heavily on the work setting, researched group process and discovered the importance of letting each group member offer his or her own ideas. Maier found that commitment is at least as important as the potential usefulness of an idea. He described his findings as follows:
- A person’s (or group’s) commitment to an idea can range anywhere from 0% to 100%.
- All other things being equal, people are more committed to ideas that they are involved in creating.
- If commitment is “0%,” it does not matter if a proposed solution has great potential to succeed! It will fail!
- If a person (or group) is enthusiastic about an idea that they consider to have a “6 out of 10” chance of success, the results will probably turn out better than a manager’s idea that has a “9 (or 10) out of 10” potential for success.
If an “imposed” solution’s success is potentially a 10, yet there is only a 20% level of commitment to making it work, the actual results will almost assuredly fall far short of a “somewhat flawed” solution that has a much higher level of commitment or engagement.
Questions for Reflection
- If involvement is such a key element of true commitment, why don’t people routinely seek others’ involvement before imposing their own ideas?
- Does it always take more time to “involve” others rather than “impose” your own ideas?
- How much do you trust that your direct report, teenager, or college-age young adult child has good ideas of their own about how they want to get things done?
- How much are you attached to controlling both the process and the outcome when you want others to do things at work and home?
- Can you remember situations in which you resisted new initiatives that were imposed by another person, even if they had value?
- As a parent, how can you interact with your child in ways that increase your child’s commitment to something they need to do?