Archive for December, 2014

Building a High Performance Culture Part XVII

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Words that Work: Committed

Words that Hurt: Interested

In this seventeenth post on building a high performance culture I want to put in each the “words that work”, and the “words that hurt”, column a word that separates the good from great in any conceivable endeavor; one who is committed versus one who is merely interested.

I’ll expand on committed vs. interested in a moment, but to bring you up-to-speed on this culture series, please review the following points and words from past posts:

  • Culture is never done. Thus, the “words that work” concepts must be consistently woven into your culture to strengthen it.
  • The words that hurt, and their ensuing mindsets, must be just as diligently weeded out of your culture.
  • These two categories are designed to build an evolving portrait of what a high performance culture looks like so you can evaluate your own culture, and continuously strive towards the ideal.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

I’ve had leaders attend my workshops whose first reaction to my asking if they’re interested in, or committed to, becoming a great leader and building a great organization respond: “What’s the difference?” Frankly, the difference is staggering. Take a look:

  • Interested: to be curious about.
  • Committed: to have pledged oneself to something.

Consider how weak, unconvincing and uninspiring being interested sounds when compared to commitment:

  1. I’m curious about what it would be like to become a great leader.
  2. I’m curious about what it would be like to build a higher performing culture.
  3. I’m curious how it would feel to have our best year ever.

On the other hand, “pledging oneself to something” indicates you are willing to pay a price; and understanding that it’s not likely to be a one-time, lump sum payment; it will be an installment plan. But you’re willing to keep plodding on for the long haul because you understand that the prize of excellence, the payoff for operating at your fullest potential and achieving what you never dreamt possible, is worth the price.

Eventually, every parent, spouse, team member, business leader, coach, teacher, pastor, everyone, must decide which column they’re in: interested or committed. All must embrace the reality that high performing cultures are shaped by, strengthened by, and protected by, those who are committed to consistently excellent performance.

By the way, the column you choose doesn’t have to be announced. You never have to tell others “I’m committed”, because when it’s true they can tell by watching you. They see the price you pay, the disciplines you develop, the tough decisions you make, the sacrifices you endure and, ultimately, how your talk about becoming great and your daily walk align.