Managing

Commitment: a business essential

Roger La Salle /

The one thing common to most businesses is that they employ staff across all levels to assist them in realising the business’ goals. But what is it that would make a person stay back late at night, come to work very early in the morning or work weekends when necessary?

In looking at individuals within a business, how can we be sure each person is really committed to success? Just how hard will they try?

The answer lies in commitment, a determination to succeed and in you allowing your employees to take personal responsibility for their part of the task. But this will only happen if the people have respect and confidence in their leaders and a personal commitment to fulfil whatever they have agreed to achieve.

How can we have people working in a team and proving their commitment and, moreover, how can we put our people to the test?

Winning commitment

The answer lies in proper project planning with written tasks, goals and a timeline and target dates. In fact, there is one school of thought that says nothing ever gets finished without a target. If there is no date required for an activity to be completed then why bother doing it at all?

Thus at the commencement of a project it is vitally important to develop some sort of timeline chart to lay out the project as a map of the activities to be undertaken and then arrive at a target date for completion.

In a complex project involving many players a program evaluation and review technique (PERT) or Gantt chart should be drawn up, showing the critical intersections of project activities and just as importantly the dates that each activity will be completed. The chart should also show that the people involved have agreed to take responsibility for meeting the target dates.

Testing commitment

In developing such a chart it is vital that the participants involved have an input and agree to what’s drawn up, and perhaps even have them personally initial the chart indicating they have agreed to the timeline and their part in meeting it.

In this way you can be sure that there can be no later doubt as to just who is responsible for any slippage.

In the case that an individual sees problems in meeting their agreed goal it is their responsibility to signal that well in advance so adjustments can be made to the overall project timeline and remedial actions taken.

Armed with this type of project development tool it is easy to see those really committed and ready to put in the extra hours if needed. A failure to go the extra mile when needed is a strong signal that commitment is lacking. There can be no better way to manage a project and staff, while testing for commitment.

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