The different levels of Commitment

What commitment is can be hard to define and measure but its a trait that is always present wherever we see success. Highly committed individuals drive change, leap through obstacles, they influence others around them to feel and act the same way. 

Companies that are fortunate enough to have them typically embrace change, they tend to have a very special kind of DNA where innovation is not a special project mandated by management but part of what the organisation is made of.

Since watching Connor Neill's video (I highly recommend you follow his channel) I have been thinking a lot about my staffs level of commitment as well as my own personal commitment to what we are all trying to achieve as a team.

If there is one thing I am extremely proud to see is the passion and desire that I see in my team to achieve very difficult things. I see products being built where resources at times are scarce, people overcoming obstacles by finding resourcefulness within them.

The four levels of commitment (from Performance coach Pep Mari

  • Level 0: There is no commitment, no willingness to learn or grow,
  • Level 1: Willing to improve,
  • Level 2: Will to improve to one's highest potential,
  • Level 3: Wiling to do whatever it takes to achieve a goal.

Reference: https://youtu.be/ROuhUV4jQRQ

    How to get committed people around you:

    • Make sure you have not hired 'zero level commitment' people In the first place; Do not waste your time with none believers, a highly self driven person is very unlikely to reach such a level commitment, 
    • Make sure you are at Level 3 yourself; Getting people to connect emotionally to a cause requires absolute determination and obsession with the cause at hand. If you are not actually committed and seen to be committed (both are equally important) nobody will follow you.
    • Embrace failure; As your people are moving up the commitment scale, they will make mistakes, a lot of mistakes. If people around you are afraid to fail they will stop moving forward. Failure is an essential part of success, make sure you make this clear. 
    • Have an inspiring mission; There needs to be something worthwhile to follow, the mission of a company cannot be revenue or profit, both these things should be a consequence of a much more meaningful journey. Make sure people understand the why more than the how. 
    The good thing about commitment is that it is something we control, it starts with a decision and a first step forward. 

    Being successful is about accepting that one is about to take on a journey with extreme uncertainty but with a limitless destination. 


    Cynicism is like a virus

    Cynicism is an attitude characterized by a general distrust of others' motives.[1] A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in the human species or people motivated by ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, goals, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment. A common misapplication of this attitude involves its attribution to individuals who emote well-thought-out expressions of skepticism

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynicism_(contemporary)

    If there is one thing any organisation should aim to eliminate completely from its culture, that is cynicism. 

    Cynicism is a symptom of something that is lacking in someones life, its not a natural 'by default' Human trait, it is a conditioned mind-set that is very difficult to manage because its part of a defensive mechanism that aims to avoid disappointment at all costs. 

    To me it is infuriating because its such an irrational and unscientific state, believing that an output will not change given a different set of input goes directly against the scientific method and the experimental approach that is a Human Trait. We learn through trial and error, mostly error, this work-flow is a direct antagonist to the cynics approach. 

    Cynics deny the existence of variables and treat the future as a constant, its an inferior illogical approach that often is highly contagious, as most easy things in life are. Its like fast food for the mind, being a cynic is easy, effortless and evasive

    How to spot a Cynic inside your organisation?

    • They tend to think they are the smartest person in the room without really sharing their ideas,
    • They reject any new idea almost instantly,
    • A lot of eye rolling and general bad attitude even in the most casual of meetings,
    • They instigate negativity in others,
    • They use objection as a tool to elevate themselves versus actually use it to build or move forward, 
    • They tend to think successful people are lucky, see no merit in others,
    • Will be the ones making remarks like: management is clueless without really having been in the role and understanding the inherent complexities of a job of that nature,
    • Think they can do a better job in any role,
    • They have a deep sense of entitlement, 
    • They rarely showcase to the public their own ideas. They talk about it, but when the time comes to actually surface them, they dont.
    • They do not tolerate criticism from others,
    • Their productivity is murky and difficult to measure,
    • They often are very articulate in the way they speak, but they weaponise communication. 

    Cynicism is the opposite of growth and improvement. We can only truly improve if we embrace failure and deep down believe things can be better if your our input changes, this is a principle that I will stand by until my last day on this earth. 


    Strategic Thinking & Lessons in Management by Jeff Bezos

    I learned a lot about the way Jeff Bezos thinks and looks at business and life after reading early this year 'The Shop of Everything' by Brad Stone. As I grow older I realise what thinking long term really means. 

    You see, when you are young, strategic thinking is something that you need to force yourself to do, you think of it from a time perspective; strategic decisions are important because they provide better returns, but they take considerably longer than a more tactical approach.  

    While this makes perfect sense, its a very narrow minded immature of looking at it. 

    When I ran my own company I thought that making a long term decision meant I would see an outcome in a specific date, as if there was a mandatory waiting time that I needed to endure in order to get a return on my investment, since I didn't have any money to bank that waiting time, every decision I made was short sighted, focused on our day to day operations. The result were what would be expected, a company that ended up living and surviving day to day. 

    I now see things so differently, strategic thinking is not task orientated, it is seeded in a set of principles and philosophies that drive a set of actions without a specific output date set in stone, strategic thinking is malleable, it bends but does not break as its existence does not exclusively depend on external circumstances. 

    Its still focused on obtaining a return on investment, but it takes other things into account as well, such as sustainability, scale, competition. 

    Im not sure if at that age I would ever be able to understand this, specially without having gone through the hardships and failures I went through due to my limited view of things in general.  

    Monday Focus: Remote is not the same thing as outsourcing

    People often mistake the concept of remote work with outsourcing. Outsourcing is the delegation of a project or a task to a third party identity usually due to a lack in capacity or a gap in a specific skill-set. 

    Remote work, the way I see it, is not about delegation, its about decentralisation of capacity within the same team. In this sense, a remote engineer is not a third party, he or she is just another engineer part of the team that happens to work somewhere else. 

    This really touches something that I am very passionate about: What makes a team a team? Is it a group of people sitting together inside the same infrastructure or is a team something more meaningful; A group people who want to achieve something together

    I see remote work as the default way of working in the next 10, 15 years, I will elaborate more on this in a future post.

    Flow State

    When I am in my Flow-state I am at my best, in whatever task I am trying to accomplish. Unfortunately I don't know how to get into this state voluntarily, it happens, sometimes, when the right circumstances meet. 

    To me, being 'In flow' is more than being present in the moment, its about achieving a certain level of focus where there is just the right amount of challenge to keep me interested and operating at my best, but not enough to make me take a step back; where there is just the right level of skills required to make the task technical but not so much that makes me have to stop to think.

    In this state, its possible that a Human Being is able to be between System 1 and System 2 thinking, not completely intuitive but not deep thinking either. See reference to the book 'Thinking, fast and slow' by Daniel Kahneman

    I feel that in this state I am able to be simultaneously in deliberate and fast thinking without going too far off to the extreme of either. 

    I need to look more into the science of 'flow-state' and on techniques on how to potentially pro-actively trigger it. 

    Source of Graphic: https://justincone.com/keeping-users-interested-is-a-matter-of-flow/

    The below video is a segment from one of my favourite shows, the Joe Rogan's Podcast. Its a fabulous description of flow state from the perspective of a great MMA coach applied to the training and athletes, even if you do not like MMA, its worth while listening.