Commitment by Simon Coker


Following on from a team having the necessary trust in each other and embracing constructive conflict as a positive behaviour of a healthy group, commitment is moving from difference of opinion to everyone involved being behind the decision that has been made.


Two things that help that happen are firstly it being clear what decision has been made and secondly everyone to be supportive of that decision – whether or not it was their initial first choice.


When we start to think about this behaviour the value of trust and conflict become apparent.  People need to trust each other to feel psychologically safe enough to disagree.  Without this safety and the robust conversation that it facilitates, people don’t get to express honest opinion and feel that they have been heard.  To get real commitment to decisions we need to feel things are being done with us rather than to us.  So, make sure everyone is involved in the virtual conversations you are having.


When working at a distance, partly due to the constraints of the tech, conversations can more easily get muddled.  Being clear on what is being discussed (and what is not!) in which meeting, and having distinct meetings for different topics (strategy, tactics, commercial etc.) will help avoid that confusion of “What are we here to discuss?”, and the resulting disengagement.  Clearly articulating what has been decided and why (having listened to everyone’s input!) as well as confirming key outcomes in writing post-meeting will add clarity – better to look back and say we probably over communicated a bit than under communicated.


The complexity and ambiguity we are experiencing in Covid 19 times can easily stall commitment.  When there is so much uncertainty flying about it can be easy to shy away from committing to decisions and fall into paralysis by analysis.  Actually, it’s unrealistic to be 100% certain on what is the right course of action just now (if it ever is), so waiting around for that certainty is counterproductive.  Performing teams and leaders can notice and avoid that scenario by recognising when it is better to make and commit to a decision with the information we currently have, than to flounder in the hope that certainty will somehow arrive.  It is always possible to commit to a different course of action in the future if necessary.


Commitment to the team decision, build on trust and constructive conflict, keeps the team aligned and builds the sense of in it together.