I spoke to a colleague over the weekend who asked for some advice. He isn’t sure about his current role. A recruiter had touched base with him recently and he was seriously considering accepting an offer. The thought of a new gig had made him realize that the outcomes he had been seeking in his current role just weren’t what he expected, and he didn’t feel like he was being challenged enough.
I asked my friend whether he has been “Involved” in his current role or “Committed.” He didn’t understand the difference, and you might not either. It reminded me of the story about the Chicken and the Pig. You see, when making a ham and cheese omelet, the chicken is INVOLVED, but the pig…oh, the pig is COMMITTED.
so, as I tend to do every now and then, I reflected on the issue and challenged myself with the same question. Was I a Chicken or a Pig? After all, I keep asking myself to test my hypotheses against actual results. Is it the company’s fault if the outcomes aren’t reached or results aren’t met, is it my team, myself, global warming? So what does it mean to be really committed and not just a participant? Well, after contemplating on this matter through an entire 11 hour flight (note to self – for long-hauls, only book overnight flights), I would like to share with you 5 comparison points between being Involved and being Committed.
1. Expectations: When things don’t go as expected, someone who is a participant will perhaps check their support system within the organization. They may place blame on the company, a co-worker, even their mother. Someone who is committed will first reflect on their own actions, methods, and operations and then, on top of that, ask their organizational support system to challenge them further so they can see things from a different perspective.
2. Use of data: Data is a huge driver for everything we do. Those of you who are Involved use the data you have in front of you and base your actions upon what you see. Committed employees however, consult with at least one other colleague, usually from another department, talk with their team to get their input, feedback, and buy in (aka COMMITMENT). They possibly even get a professional analysts’ review to discover the real trends and meaning behind the numbers. Uncovering the data = Involved Facing uncovered data and acting upon it = Committed
3. Management: For those of you managing teams…working in an office, looking at data, presentations, calls, online demos…this is being Involved. In my opinion, it will take you only so far. If you choose to be Committed, get out there. Spend time with your team, get to know them personally, look your customers in the eyes, stand for hours “booth-camping” in a convention until your lower back starts making the sounds of a giraffe with a sore throat. Be there!! Commit. Trust will be built, connections made, and everyone participant will become committed (see what I did there?)
4. Discovery: Imagine you are doing well where you are. You’re able to manage all the systems and processes, the monthly reports, display the templated presentation, as required. Smooth sailing. But, after a meeting or call, a co-worker mentions something you’re not sure of. A term you haven’t heard before. Maybe a new software technology. Those who are Involved would brush it off and forget about it, thinking to themselves, “I don’t need this info now, so I will deal with it when I do.” Committed folks will take a note. Go research. Call the person who mentioned it on the call to find out more. Google search to further explore the topic and possibilities.
5. Criticism: Probably the most important one. You receive some constructive criticism from your boss, from a friend, a colleague. It’s not exactly fun. If you don’t care much about it and don’t FEEL much of anything, you are most likely just Involved in your job. However, if after receiving the criticism, you are slightly hurt and moved emotionally to be and do better, it means you care about your work and your boss’ opinion, and thus, that you’re COMMITTED.
When you make a commitment you build hope. When you keep it, you build trust.
I’m sure you can see how all of these concepts could apply to regular life stuff too – diet, exercise, finances…there’s a million other things.
Of course, it’s ok to consider other jobs, for the right reasons. I get it. I’ve been there. But before you jump, ask yourself if you gave it your all. Are you emotionally committed to the people working with you, your customers, your partners? Do you know them personally? Are you just Involved or fully Committed? Are you a Chicken or a Pig?
What did my friend decide, you ask?
Well, let’s just say he decided he’s a Pig!