Convinced or Committed?

Focus

I recently read a piece from John Maxwell tilted “Convinced or Committed” In the article Maxwell states that “convincing others is great but getting everyone to commit is the key to meaningful and lasting change” and the frontline supervisors are the ones who influence that change in the rank and file in the most important ways. So how do we get there, to meaningful and lasting change?

In the article Maxwell says, Teams don’t win (*perform, execute, produce, take initiative, serve, sacrifice, etc.*) by accident; they cannot simply rely on their talent to take them to the top. Winning teams display strong, durable commitment—both to a common cause and to one another. This commitment inspires them to persevere through setbacks and to make the sacrifices necessary to succeed.

Maxwell’s meaning of the word ‘commitment’ is focused not just on oneself but instead “commitment to a common cause” and working together. Mission, vision and values helps to drive this commitment to more than numbers or statistics and builds upon what it means to be a police officer. Indeed what it means to serve others while balancing crime fighting and disorder with quality of life, sternness with compassion and force with persuasion. Understand the letter of the law but don’t forget to focus on the spirit of the law. Be committed to enforcement tethered with council and wise discretion.

Maxwell in his piece talks about important factors that influence commitment to a common cause which develops through a series of stages. Only when the final stage has been reached does a person fully “buy in” to the leader’s vision. He lays out 4 key attributes to help us all understand how we get to commitment, verses being convinced.

A. Understanding

Many leaders mistakenly believe people have bought into the vision when they understand and agree with it. However, being convinced is not the same as being committed—it’s only the initial stage. I can think of dozens of causes that I know all about, and greatly admire, but to which I am not committed or even remotely connected.

B. Contribution

When people put their time and money into a vision, then they have a greater level of involvement with it. Yet, while they may support the vision, they still are not completely committed to it. For example, we may send a donation to a worthy charity, and even volunteer with it occasionally, and yet not lose sleep over its long-term success or failure.

C. Ownership

At the ownership phase, people feel responsible for the fate of the vision and have become particularly invested in it. They have given enough of their blood, sweat, and tears to develop a stake in its success. They have an emotional tie to the vision and care deeply about seeing it come to pass. Yet even at this stage, a person is not entirely committed to the cause.

D. Evangelism

When someone can’t stop talking about the vision, sharing it with their friends and recruiting others to take part in it, they have finally reached full commitment. You can hear the passion in their voice and see the excitement on their face when they talk about the vision. Moreover, the passion doesn’t fade—it’s lasting enthusiasm rather than momentary hype. By this point, the vision matters to them and has become a significant part of their life. They are not selling it for self-advancement; they are spreading the word about the cause because they genuinely believe in its worth.

Something for us all to think about; what levels of commitment do the people on each shift, do we have to our department’s mission and vision? How committed are we to our core values? Are we living and breathing them? Hell do we even know what they are? If not, why not?

It is important to dig a lot deeper into Mission-Vision-Values and attempt to understand their effect on individual and organizational execution. Everything I read and discuss with leaders who have high performing teams, shifts, departments, organizations say mission-vision and values are the trigger to meaningful and lasting change.

Stay Oriented

Fred