"Bacon and Eggs"
Many times in business we deal with people who leave us cold at a certain point in a project or in driving a marketing deal to conclusion. They seem to have a strong involvement, but it begins to drift just when the tough aspect arrives. Some people are "involved" in a project or deal, and some are "committed."
There’s a classic illustration that compares "involvement" with "commitment" as being like "bacon and eggs" where the hen is involved while the pig is committed.
If you’re really counting on a project manager, a business partner, or a sales associate to produce results then you need to know the level of commitment to complete the deal. Sometimes it’s not possible to know those levels until the heat of battle arrives, and a necessary amount of time, energy or reputation must be applied. Will that person commit when it’s needed?
In my career in sales and promotion, I’ve dealt with the whole spectrum of people. And, I’ve built up a cadre of trusted partners that are my preference with whom to work together. We all know what to expect from each other. We know the levels of commitment and production that can be expected at the critical times. This knowledge only comes from experience. I’ve heard that old cliché: he/she is a good person to do business with. My response is, "The world is full of good people. However, I don’t have to do business with all of them, and I sure don’t want to rely on just a good person." Of course, ability also counts. How many times have you observed that an extremely capable person just doesn’t perform? Further, you have to recognize that sometimes a committed person doesn’t have the ability to perform adequately. But I believe that capability is easier to determine than commitment.
You can’t always know what the results will be when that critical time arrives, but you sure can have an understanding between you and that partner in advance about what must be done. Make your needs clear. Get a "commitment" to perform, and then test that person to know what to expect in the future. It’s the test that counts.
As the level of responsibility increases, the testing continues to produce people who can be trusted to perform bigger and more critical functions. Therefore, be sure that you always have a "pipeline" of people who are being tested so that the various job functions can be performed by the person with the appropriate level of ability who will honor the completion commitment-- and then make sure that he is stretched beyond what you knew before. This is how the best managers produce their ultimate team. You can’t give every job to the "best" person; it should go to the "appropriate" person.
If something "absolutely and positively" must be performed, then you need a capable partner who will commit to the results.. Involvement only is too risky. Oh yes, don’t forget to apply these concepts to testing yourself!
I would appreciate comments; contact me at Technology Business magazine: phone: 703-610-8787; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: www.johnsanders.com.
prepared for the October, 1997 Issue of the FLC NewsLink