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Capturing Commitments

·2 mins

At the end of your team meetings, how confident are you that everyone involved will fulfill their commitments? (If there aren’t any commitments, perhaps you didn’t really need to have a meeting at all. But that’s a topic for a future newsletter.)

Unmet commitments are broken promises and will break down trust over time. If you are not confident that your colleague will keep a promise, you will spend additional time and energy following up if it’s something important to you. Ultimately, the “low-trust tax” will be paid by someone and your goals will suffer.

Here are some recommendations to ensure that the commitments made in a meeting are more likely to be kept.

  1. Make sure each person’s commitment has the elements of a promise including a deadline and an agreement about whatever details are essential. Here’s an example of a weak promise: “I’ll send those sales projections next week.” By contrast, here’s an example of a strong promise: “I will email all of you a spreadsheet with the sales projections for next quarter by noon on Tuesday.” Which example produces more accountability and is more likely to satisfy the team’s needs?
  2. Rather than having the meeting facilitator read out all the commitments at the end of the meeting, have each person declare their own commitments. There’s a difference between hearing someone else say what you need to do and declaring your intention personally to your colleagues.
  3. Invite “questions for clarification” so everyone in the meeting has an opportunity to understand the promises in whatever detail necessary to ensure that they get what they need.
  4. Hold one another accountable. Confrontation can be difficult, yet the best teams maintain high standards for accountability and promise keeping in spite of the potential discomfort. Pursue truth with grace.

A Thought to Ponder #

Integrity has no need of rules.
—Albert Camus

Something Delightful #

As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, I’m a sucker for feel-good Olympics stories. Here’s one featuring 17-year-old Nevin Harrison who will be representing the U.S. at the Olympics this summer in canoeing. (Yes, that’s an Olympic sport. I didn’t know that either.)