Managers who don’t commit to success enable failure at every level


By William Seidman

I’ve just seen Rick’s axiom, “An organization’s initiatives will be only as successful as the intensity and consistency of the management’s commitment” proven for the nth time.

We provide a great system for improving performance, but it’s only as good as the organization’s desire to get better. Recently we saw this in action.

Cerebyte provided two virtually identical programs to groups with vastly different levels of management commitment.

In one, the sponsor seemed to lose interest once the program was approved. He didn’t attend the kick-off or any other function. Fortunately, there was a strong project manager who kept things together until she too was pressured to focus away from the program.  She had to fight her management to continue to work on something everyone, including her management, said was critical.

The project manager enlisted 4 coaches of varying ability levels.  Two are incredibly dedicated to developing their people, are always prepared, and hold their people accountable for doing the learning exercises. Two are only marginally involved – one because she is giving the development of her people a consistently lower priority than her own direct work, the other because he is just not very engaged or forceful.

Not surprisingly, the two teams with coaches that are committed are doing really well,  despite  the absence of a sponsor. Everyone is praising the program under these two.

The other two are barely functioning; there is a lot of disappointment in the program. The sponsor has some accountability for not holding the two less engaged coaches accountable for their performance.

In the contrasting program, the sponsor is incredibly engaged. The project manager is very strong and motivated. The 4 coaches really want their people to succeed.

The participants in this program are prospering. Commitment, energy and dedication at all levels is the ideal, but commitment at the management level is essential.

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