“So we’re all in agreement with the proposed commission changes,” Julie asked her sales team. Everyone nodded without looking up from the report.
In the break room Mike dumped his cold coffee unable to hold back any longer, “Julie’s plan is really going to hurt my pay check next year. Can you believe we’re changing commission structure…again?”
“That’s how she operates,” Amy agonized. “I just don’t trust her after what happened last year. We still don’t have all the information, but I can tell her mind is made up. Looks great for the company, I just don’t understand how it won’t hurt our income.”
Julie had the account executives nodding, but uncommitted.
Surrender is not commitment
Failure to leave the team meeting with commitment to the decision is common. If you believe nodding heads is a sign of buy-in, you could be in for a surprise.
Expect some of the following when commitment is missing on your team …
- Uncertainty about direction and priorities
- Lost opportunities due to excessive analysis and delay
- Lack of confidence and fear of failure
- Rehashing of decisions, over and over
- Unresolved tension between team and personal goals
- Half-hearted support (nodding)
That’s not a good list. Failure to achieve commitment leaves the door open for unnecessary conflict. “I thought we decided to…” “When did we decide to do this?” “I wish we would have talked more about…” “Look, I didn’t agree with the decision anyway.”
So how can you achieve commitment?
Two things support commitment: 1) a team leader who creates space to engage with the ideas, questions, and perspectives of others; 2) team members willing to speak up … in the meeting.
It takes courage to speak up. But isn’t that what you want, to be heard, to have your ideas considered?
When a team achieves commitment, they…
- Create space for engaged communication
- Gain clarity regarding direction
- Secure agreement on priorities
- Get behind the shared objectives
- Learn from mistakes
- Change direction without hesitation
Forget consensus; move forward
Consensus is not the goal of a highly productive team. Likewise, certainty is not the expectation of a top-performing team.
Instead they take risks. “Failure is an option.” “We can fix this.” Self-managed teams build trust and effectively communicate about the tough issues in pursuit of clarity and buy-in, which allows the team to commit to the decision.
Clarity brings the assumptions out into the open. “This is the direction we’re going…” Voices have been heard, ideas debated, nothing held back. It’s time.
Then, with clarity around direction, buy-in is expected. Genuine emotional support unites a team around a decision they may not agree on. Remember, consensus is not the goal, results are.
Back to our team, and its search for clarity…
At the next sales’ meeting, Blake asked Julie if the team could re-visit the new commission structure. “I know I’m the new guy, but it looks like you want us to focus on key account development.” Looking around the table for support, he continued, “What resources can we expect from the company to go after this type of business?”
“Glad you asked,” Julie responded. “It occurred to me after our meeting last week, that I left out one important aspect of the new commission structure…”
Mike and Amy listened intently as Julie outlined the new support to help them succeed.
Locking in commitment
How much value does your team put on consensus? How do you show up when you see things differently from others? How willing are you to speak up and share your ideas?
It may be uncomfortable. But you speaking up may help the entire team commit to the decision.
Here’s to your next level,
PS: The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ is a result of the partnership between Wiley Workplace Learning Solutions and best-selling author Patrick Lencioni. The assessment is based on his best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and powered by Everything DiSC Workplace. Next Level Executive Coaching, LLC is an independent Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Authorized Partner.
Click to review a Five Behaviors Sample Report.
Photo credit: Sylwia Bartyzel on Unsplash.com