Thursday, October 20, 2011

Commitment or Condition?

Commitment does not require conditions.  As a school leader, you can usually spot the difference in the language they use.  Listen for the words "if" or "but" because that normally reveals condition not commitment. 

For example:

"I would communicate better with parents IF I had more time."
"I want to be more attentive to individual needs BUT I teach too many students."

As a school leader, you seek and need commitment from your team.  One way to help move from condition to commitment is to change the "if" or "but" to "AND."  This tests commitment.  After making the change, start a follow up sentence with "Therefore..."  If the "Therefore" sentence includes a solution, you are building commitment.  If the "Therefore" sentence includes eliminating the difficult task, there is no commitment.

"I would communicate better with parents AND I do not have much time.  Therefore, I need to manage my time to schedule communication as part of my daily routine."

"I want to be more attentive to individual needs AND I am teaching plenty of students.  Therefore, I may need to have help hours after and/or before school."

If it is worth doing, it needs to be done regardless of circumstance.  The measure of commitment is finding the innovative solution that allows the important work to get done.
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