The Incremental Commitment Formula goes like so:
The more it works, the more you give. Simple. You don’t invest in hope. You respond to results. You earn your respect and you let the people around you earn theirs.
CASE IN POINT:
Cassie thought she was a killer lady boss. “Oh, yeah, I thought I was hot stuff. Wheeling my deals, getting offers in by midnight, hiring, firing. I loved to make big promises and crazy commitments — both about what I could produce for the company and what I wanted people to produce for us.” Cassie rolled her eyes and did one of those snortle laughs — proving once again that the I can SO laugh at myself snortle coming from a powerful woman is super-sexy and endearing. “So I’d offer people big, sweeping deals right off the bat. Just to wow ’em. I’d give them a fat salary and a great parking spot and start talking about how much cash they’d be raking in in a year or two because we’d be sure to hit our sales targets.
“Of course, sometimes this would pay off. But let’s face it, winners are rare and shit happens, so when it was clear in week two that someone just wasn’t going to work out, I’d tend to ignore the signs and keep trying to work it out because the promises were so . . . promised.”
Been there. “I know this one so bad, sister,” I jumped in. “Remember when I booked a distant future trip to Maui with that guy I’d met just the weekend before? I was so banking on him being a full-tilt winner. Lost my deposit on that one.” Snortle.
Cassie is an introspective mover and shaker, and she had her aha moment eventually. “It was really just a lack of trust on my part . . . and probably self-worth issues if I’m really real about it. I thought if I showed up first with a lot to offer, then they’d come through. I overcompensated to try to get what I wanted out of people. It just weakens everyone and mostly me and my budget.”
It took some hope and restraint, but Cass started bringing people onto her team with far less offered up front. She pretty much erased the word guaranteed from her vocabulary. New players were offered three months to make the grade. Bonuses were based on performance. Cassie curbed her quick-to-give nature, and when people actually delivered the results, she then let her gratitude cheer the loudest.
Her pragmatism and enthusiasm rode side by side.
One-step-at-a-time commitment creates traction.
It’s not about withholding. The withholding posture in any kind of relationship is just nasty and manipulative. Leave that for kidnappers and ransomers.
Rather, incremental commitment is about being responsive to reality. This approach gives you leeway for mutual accountability, for prerogatives to be exercised, and for the self-motivated players to motivate themselves…. and THAT’S something you can commit to.