If You Can’t Commit, Just Quit
susandusterhoft | Advice, Culture, Employee Relations, Happiness, High Performance Work Organizations, Human Resources, Leadership, WorkLife| By
I have the pleasure of owning my own business. While this comes with a heckuva lot of headaches and anxiety, it does come with some inherent bonuses:
- I own what I do!
- I am committed!
- I am all in!
I gave a presentation a few weeks ago in which I talked about my belief that employees need to commit to their organization’s vision and values. I shared my opinion that a failure to do so inevitably results in a failure to perform, a failure to be productive, a failure to improve, etc.
If You Can’t Commit, Just Quit
This isn’t a new conviction for me; for years I’ve been known for my hard stance on the issue. Comments such as “Heather tells it like it is” or “Heather shocks people” come up because I don’t beat around the bush: either commit to the vision, mission and values or quit.
Lest you think I am unreasonable, please know I am not asking them to commit to something unethical or otherwise harmful.
- I don’t believe they should sell their soul to the devil.
- I don’t believe they should follow someone or something blindly at then own or their customer’s peril.
- I don’t believe they should allow themselves to be treated poorly just because they believe in the organization in general.
However, if the devil is not lurking, if there is no dictator demanding unrealistic things, and if they are not being taken advantage of, I wholeheartedly believe they need to take a hard look into the mirror and ask themselves if they are committed to their employer’s vision, mission and values.
- Do they care enough about the vision to be a part of it?
- Do they believe in the mission enough to follow the challenging path it offers?
- Do they share or otherwise respect the values enough to work by them?
Do they give a damn?
If not, they should leave!
They should resign their positions and find something they can believe in, find something they can sink their heart and soul into, and find an employer they believe is worthy of their effort, their mind, and their time.
Organizations have gone too long investing time and resources into a workforce that doesn’t give a damn.
The workforce has gone too long investing time and resources into an organization they don’t give a damn about.
Consumers have paid the price! Something must change.
If you’re a supervisor, may I suggest you:
- Meet with your employees and talk to them about what commitment means. What does it look like, what it sound like, what behaviors reflect a commitment, etc.
Make sure that before you advance to step 2 of this recommendation, you are positive that everyone on your team understands what it as stake and what it is you’re REALLY talking about.
- Ask your employees if they are committed.
If they aren’t committed, don’t fire em just yet.
- If your employees are committed, and you believe their behavior and performance is reflective of that, THANK THEM and send them back to work.
- If your employees are not committed, ask them why.
- Is it something you have failed to do?
- Is it something the organization has failed to do?
- Is it their team or colleagues who have done something that prohibits their commitment?
- Is it something else that prohibits their commitment?
- If there is something you can do, take action.
- Start providing feedback when you see your team demonstrating a commitment.
- Start asking “why” when you don’t.
- Eliminate the barriers, provide solutions, facilitate discussions and problem solving when things get in the way of your team demonstrating commitment.
- Apologize when you are unable to remove or mitigate the barriers or otherwise “define reality” when things have to be a certain way.
- If there is not anything you can do, help your employee find other employment. Do so kindly and respectfully but do it.
If you’re an employee, may I suggest you:
- Think about it. Does the vision and mission resonate with you at all? When you see your employer’s values or guiding principles on the website, do they mean more than just words?
- If you are not committed, ask yourself why.
- If it is because of something employer-related, request a meeting with your supervisor to talk about it.
- If it is because of something personal, ask yourself what it would take to turn the boat around. (In other words, is it probable things could change and, if so, what will be needed?)
- If it is not probable things are going to change, resign your position. You can do so gracefully and with tact, but do it.
I am well aware there are instances where, for the short term, it is perfectly acceptable to keep a non-committed employee around but know this, it is a short term solution. The long term solution is to make plans for the non-committed departure and start looking for someone who can believe in what you believe in, who can own their work, and can commit to your organization.