The “Commitment” Law

One of the most visible qualities of a leader is their conviction, or as we say, who they are as a commitment. It is almost expected that great leaders will demonstrate their commitment –not in what they say, but rather in what they do. After all, remember –people watch what you do, not what you say. Talk is cheap, as the saying goes. In the many interactions with great leaders, I have had over the years, I have learned that this Law of Attraction is what creates the emotional connection between leaders and followers.

People stand behind you because they share your commitment, as if they were the one that said it.

People are hungry for commitment, but are often afraid of the risk. My suspicion is that for most people, when a leader declares and speaks their commitment, it fills a void, a person’s inability to commit themselves or to stay committed over time. A leader’s ability to express their commitment –in deeds –serves as a keeper of people’s own commitment, as if they were the one that committed.

Although people admire you and respect you for your commitments, they are also watching you 24/7. While they are rooting for you, voting for you, and defending you, they are also scrutinizing you, and if you fail, they will be breathing down your neck before you realize what happened, as though it was their own failure.

The fundamentals of the “Commitment” Law:

  1. Less is more! **–The experts say that most human beings can hold (be present to at any given moment) no more than 5-7 memory prints (in my experience, it’s no more than 3-5 at most), so stick to those commitments that are “really” important/to those that can really make a difference. Effective leadership is about leveraging the support people extend to you –any time, all the time.
  2. Your actions speak for themselves! **–Talk is cheap. The way that people measure leaders is by their scorecard. “What have you done for me lately?” Focus on actions, not explanations. Translate your commitments into action. Your commitments are real and alive only if you have results to show for them.
  3. It is what you are known for! **–Do not apologize for your commitments. The common perception is that being apologetic is a sign of weakness. If you can’t authentically give your word and your life in service of your commitments, do not commit. People expect you to do or die for your commitments. They will not – and should not –accept anything less.
  4. It is very personal! **–Do not use commitment as a means to capture people’s minds. Commitments are designed to capture people’s hearts. And just as with a love affair, when you break someone’s heart, it is very difficult for them to get over you. Without people’s hearts, you have nothing.
  5. Yes, they are written in stone! **–Once you have spoken them, commitments are engraved in people’s memory forever and ever and ever. Take your time. Think them through. Immerse yourself in them. Test them out (for yourself, at first). You will know when you are ready to speak them/to declare them to the world. People do not really care what you are committed to, they only care when you do not honor a commitment. When you are right, no one remembers. When you are wrong, no one forgets.

This is a very powerful Law of Attraction. It allows you to connect with people in a deeper and more meaningful way. When people are willing to share your commitments, it becomes very personal. Beware. Do not play with a commitment or treat it casually. It is like a grenade that you are holding in the palm of your hand –it can explode in your face at any time. (And when it does, it is usually quite messy…) When people start to question the authenticity of your commitments, it is the beginning of the end for most leaders. It is a leadership death sentence. It is very difficult to recover from, if at all.

I never said leadership was a walk in the park. On the contrary, it is like walking through a minefield that is about to go off –any time now. Leadership is the arena where you either win, or you die. It is a “100% or nothing” phenomenon. There is only giving your all to it.

What are your commitments?