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Leadership Thought #303 – Live Up To Your Commitments

February 22, 2012

Free Man in Beige Blazer Holding Black Laptop Computer Stock Photo

Fulfilling your commitments is a critical part of achievement. The most successful people I know do what they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it.  They are also good at “being present” in the moment and fully engaged in whatever they are doing.  They avoid distractions and abhor excuses.  High performance is not optional but instead a way of life.  To them, hyper-performance and multi-tasking is for amateurs.

Success in business and in life really isn’t all that complicated:

  • Have a clear goal,
  • figure out the best route to achieve that goal,
  • create a plan of action,
  • take the requisite action,
  • and maintain your focus regardless of the obstacles.


This doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps along the way or diversions.  In fact, your definition of success may change, especially as other people enter and exit your life.  However, always know where you are going and what it takes to get there.  Never give up or lose hope.  Life has a way of testing how badly you want something.

I have noticed a disturbing trend among leaders these days that it’s okay to overbook your schedule and rationalize non-performance.  It’s not a question of working hard.  Some of the people I know who are struggling have a fantastic work ethic.  Unfortunately, they are often working hard due to a lack of focus, poor planning, and/or over commitment.   There is nothing more fruitless and frustrating than working hard on the wrong things.   In addition, all our technological devices can tempt us with the illusion of being always available and instantaneously aware of everything, but leaders aren’t leading others if they must be constantly plugged in to what is going on.

We all have examples in our life of times when we had a laser like focus on something and stayed the course until we achieved what we wanted.  I’m sure there were many opportunities to get distracted or fall off course; however, we remained steadfast and did what was required to achieve success.  I encourage you to reflect on and leverage these firsthand experiences to your benefit as often as possible.  If you are being honest with yourself, you already know the formula that leads to personal and professional accomplishment.

Sometimes we become our own worst enemy.  There often is a gap between what we expect from our team and what we do ourselves.  If you are regularly late to meetings. If you continually miss deadlines. If you are always making excuses for mediocre performance.  If you blame others for your own lack of planning and prioritization.  If you can make rash decisions with incomplete information.  If you lose your cool when things don’t go your way. All these things can become bad management behaviors that are hard to break.  In addition, it sends a contradictory message to your team.  You are always on stage – never forget this fact.

A leader’s job is to simplify not complicate things.  They need to rally others around a clear definition of success and what it takes to get there.   It’s critical that they learn to lead by example and create a result-driven culture built on a mindset of personal accountability.  Once you have a clear plan of action, live up to your commitments and expect others to do the same.  It really is that simple.