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Change Initiatives

About the Commitment Contract Concept to change initiatives

Creating a Common Vision

In the pursuit of performance excellence a key question for leaders to ask is how can we ensure common meaning and understanding within our organisation, stakeholder group or team? Achieving common vision is perhaps the critical starting pointn to any change initiative. How can we increase our reciprocal commitment with others by creating a common vision?

Human beings are 'meaningful' creatures. They act on and commit to what makes sense to them. A core part of creating reciprocal commitment with others is creating common visions and objectives that make sense to all parties.

Equilearn recommends a 4 step approach

Accepting Change (1)

As we negotiate for others' commitment, much of the time we are asking people to change or to commit to something that is different from what currently exists. People resist commitment to change unless they can visualise the possibility of something different and see themselves in that visual picture as both successful and satisfied.

Whenever people can not imagine the possibility of something different they hold onto what currently exists. Whenever they can not see themselves being successful and satisfied in the new scenario, they obviously are not committed to it.

In addition to committing when they can imagine themselves being successful and satisfied, people also commit when the vision they have of the future creates important results. People grow up and become generous, they become appropriately self-sacrificing when they can see a bigger picture, when the cause is important. People generally want to contribute to and commit to building a better world.

Commitment to Future Relationships

Often times, when we have had a history of conflict with someone, the tendency in both parties may be to focus on the past. In focusing on the past, we tend to want to make whatever didn't work the other person's fault. We get into the Blame Game.

Commitment Contract-Create A common Vision (2)

We argue about who did it first, or who did it last or who did it more - or who didn't do it at all. We tend to want to repeat ourselves and get frustrated because the other person is not willing to admit it is all their fault. We do this in our personal lives and we do this in our professional lives. In either setting, we dig a grave for ourselves.

The way to get out of our rut is to focus the conversation and our relationships out of the past and into the present and future. We need to ask ourselves and the other parties in the conflict whether we perceive any value or benefit in having a future relationship. If the answer is 'no', then we should cut our losses and figure out the least costly way to separate. If the answer is 'yes', we are COMMITTED to having a future relationship and deciding what we want that relationship to look like and deciding what we need to do to make that vision our reality.

This is an extremely important point that arises quite often. Unless we get a commitment to the future we waste enormous time and resources arguing about the past. This is true in personal as well as business relationships.

- The couple who keeps punishing each other for something that happened in the past needs to decide whether they are really committed to a shared existence.

- The company and customer who keep blaming each other for whose fault it was that the products did not meet specification d need to decide whether they want to do business together in the future.

- The union reps and management team that keep telling war stories about what they did to each other in the past need to decide if they want to build the business together or destroy it.

- The two employees who keep talking to others about each other in order to get people to side with them need to be confronted to grow up and resolve their issues with each other, either find a way to be committed to each others' success or get out of each others' way.

In each of these examples, unless we get some commitment to how we want to be together differently in the future, then we will remain stuck in the past.

Another dimension of creating visions is having within our organization or work group a statement about who we are as a group, what we do, who we do it for, and why we are doing it. To answer these questions is to define our mission together.

One of the reasons for lack of commitment in groups is because they are not clear about their mission. They are not clear about what their business is; what they are supposed to do, who they art supposed to do it for, or why it is important that they do it at all. When people have differing understandings of their mission, they tend to work at cross purposes with each other, often quite unintentionally.

Commitment Contract-Create A Common Vision (3)

It is also important to realize that a work group's or a total organization's mission continually evolves as the external environment changes.

When the world changes around us, it requires different responses from us. How we produced and delivered our products and services last year may not be adequate or effective this year. Not only how we do it, but what products and services we provide and to whom we provide them may need to change. This means that our fundamental mission changes.

Constantly evolving missions is a reality in a constantly changing world.

To stay abreast or ahead of the change - to know when we need to redefine our mission and to know how we need to revise our operating systems to ensure quality and customer satisfaction in the future - this requires the ability to understand the present and to envision the future.

Creating Your Personal Vision

At the core of everything is personal vision. Our understanding and acceptance of ourselves in the world fundamentally determines the results you are able to create over time.

The vision we have of ourselves is both the result of and influences our level of thinking ability. It determines whether we behave like a child and produce the results of a child or operate as an adult and produce adult results.

Personal vision of grows out of personal beliefs and determines whether we experience ourselves living out of scarcity or living out of abundance. An individual's vision of what is possible for them with others determines the quality of relationships they are able to create and enjoy with others.

The understanding and acceptance of self determines our ability to listen to the meaning behind the behaviour of others. It determines our ability to understand and accept others and to make it safe for them to understand and accept us.

Trust in self empowers us to not be self-protective and reactive. It empowers us to step back; to pay attention to what is going on both within us and around us, and to address the blocks that arise in the form of relationship conflicts or ineffective processes or disagreements about criteria for settlement.

Commitment Contract-Create A Common Vision (4)

Personal vision - the value we give to ourselves and what we believe is possible for us - determines our success. It determines what we are able to achieve and it determines what we are able to do with others.

The Link to Leadership

'If you don't know who you are, what you stand for and what you want, how can anyone else know; how can anyone else exercise the choice to join you, buy into your vision and support you? In short, how can you call yourself a leader?'

There is only one way to get the results you want - you have to believe it is possible and that you have a right to it.  There is only one way to get others committed to your vision - it has to integrate with their personal vision. Others must see the linkage to give you the permission to lead.

It might not be an exaggeration to say that at any given time in life we have two choices. We can either hold on or move on. It's important to know when to hold and when to move. How will we know how to exercise the choice? You got it! Clarity of personal vision. It's important to have a vision for ourselves and with others.


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