What is Commitment?

Thinking of others big picture 2014 (2015_07_30 18_46_37 UTC)Simple question, not so simple answer.  So often we treat this term very lightly with little concern for the actual outcome. In a relativistic society, we often look at commitments as being one-sided, our own personal benefits are the primary focus.

Well, I decided to take a look at this simple word:


noun – com·mit·ment  \kə-ˈmit-mənt\

Simple Definitions of commitment

: a promise to do or give something

: a promise to be loyal to someone or something

: the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something

Commitment is a dedication or promises to provide a service, product or loyalty to a particular person, organization, cause, or belief, and a willingness to get involved. It should be one of our core values in how we deal with people in general, whether in our social or business lives.

Truly committed people are those who live up to doing what they say and completing it when they say they will. They often demonstrate their commitment to a person, organization or effort, when they truly believe that the cause or outcome is important, then they show up, follow through, and stick with it.

For example, if you are a group, the more people who are committed to your organization, the greater the momentum you can generate to get the job done. As an entrepreneur, the more people you engage that demonstrate a level of commitment to doing what they say they will when they say they will, provides for an excellent basis for collaboration or partnering between the parties.


Commitment is the backbone of a relationship, group, organization or collaboration. It is what gives a group or process its strength and predictability.

Here are a number of reasons why commitment is important:

  1. We see every day, the more committed people there are, the more effective they are in influencing others. When a whole organization acts with determination and commitment, great numbers of people will really pay attention and hopefully, take action.
  2. For a solopreneur who understands the concept of commitment, the better their Credibility Reliability Index (CRI), i.e., their ability to get things done. The better the CRI, the more prospects, and clients will seek them out for services or products because they have a track record of success!
  3. Generally, people who are committed are the ones who aren’t discouraged easily, they don’t give up. Often, they set an example for those who may not have the confidence or experience to go through the hard times and hold out for the rewards of success.
  4. I find that people collaborate much more fully when they truly share the same commitment. Commitment fosters camaraderie, trust, and caring — the stuff a team or organization needs to keep it going for the long run.
  5. When people are committed to the big picture or purpose of an organization for a period of time, they will, generally, adapt and learn what they need to know to be more effective. Experience allows them to try things out, make mistakes, and understand what strategy works best. Yes, this works the same regardless of the moral position of the purpose.


Anytime, All the time! Commitment doesn’t usually happen in a single moment. It grows and develops within people over time as they experience the results of their commitment output.  It can be distorted if all you have is limited short spurts of visibility.  Commitment is most effective when it becomes part of an individual’s emotional and intellectual DNA, i.e., a habit.

Commitment grows when individuals or teams:

  • Collaborate well together
  • Feel successful at what they do
  • Make Joint decisions
  • Work through conflicts
  • Support one another’s leadership
  • Have fun and engage together
  • Overcome obstacles
  • Hold each other accountable
  • Appreciate and respect one another
  • Challenge one another to take the next step
  • Build relationship capital
  • Experience victories together
  • Learn from mistakes and setbacks
  • See their leaders model commitment

On the other hand, commitment disappears when people act in the opposite of those things above. Quite simply, it starts when they don’t communicate well, don’t build relationships and support one another, become embroiled in unresolved conflicts, don’t live their principles, and don’t see leaders demonstrating commitment.

Although commitment grows in a natural way, you, as a leader or team member, can foster, encourage and empower commitment in your organization. You can build commitment into your organizational culture. Although it is invisible, commitment is a very real quality that you can do something about if you are willing to focus your attention on it.


How do you encourage commitment? How do you get your hands on that invisible quality and make it grow in your organization or in the case of solopreneurs, grow your client base?

First, let’s think about why people become involved in and committed to a person, group or organization.

Start with yourself: Why are you are committed to your project or organization? Why are you committed to the people and organizations you are today? Here are a few self-awareness questions to ask on a regular basis:

  • What is most important to you? Do people understand and relate?
  • What are the goals of your passion or group? Can others share those goals?
  • How big is your vision of what is possible? Is it big enough or too big?
  • How can you relate to the people with whom you work? Is there mutual engagement?
  • Have you invested enough time in this group? What do people see in your actions?
  • Your role in your group or organization? Have you earned the trust necessary?
  • Have you’ve learned from this group? Have you listened and acted?
  • Do you get satisfaction from doing significant work? Do others?

People commit to a person, group or organization because they gain something important from their involvement. When you invite them to become involved, you are not only asking for their help, you are offering them an opportunity to:

  • Work on an issue that is important to them
  • Benefit the community
  • Meet and spend time with like-minded people
  • Expand their skills
  • Be a part of a team
  • Learn how to lead
  • Rise to a challenge
  • Meet high standards
  • Accomplish something significant

You should be proud when you invite people to be committed to your passion, goals or organization. Don’t look at it as imposing on them; you’re offering them something of value. The key is to make sure you have done your due diligence on those you approach and that the value makes sense to the people you approach.

In my next article, we will cover some specific ideas about how you can build and sustain commitment, many of which will also strengthen your organization as a whole. If you would like to discuss, please visit my Transformative Leadership website or call me at 630-454-4821.