Study after study has shown that most strategic initiatives fail. Timelines slip, financial goals are unrealized, and synergies fail to materialize. Yet year after year, organizations spend countless hours — and tens of millions of dollars — trying to get it right.

The reason for these failures include:

  • A general lack of enthusiasm, ownership and accountability for the overall strategy and vision of the organization.
  • Executives, managers and employees identify primarily with their own workgroup, division, or business unit in ways that are detrimental to the organization as a whole; silos trump cohesiveness and collaboration.
  • Distrust, suspicion, politics and fear between levels of management and functional areas displace open, honest and productive communication.
  • People debate issues and problems endlessly but never align on implementing sustainable improvements.
  • No one takes accountability for solving problems and initiating solutions; excuses, finger-pointing and CYA are pervasive.
  • Executives spend significant time and energy on strategic plans, only to go back to embedded habits and practices.

So, why do these conditions persist despite everyone knowing they undermine productivity and morale?

Commitment: The missing ingredient

While executives say commitment is critical, and many believe they have it, more often than not what leaders call Commitment is really Compliance.

Commitment means people giving their all, challenging the status quo and acting as owners, independent of position or title. Compliance, on the other hand, manifests as political correctness: going through the motions, doing only what is asked, and staying “under the radar.”

Most leaders settle for compliance because they either can’t tell the difference, underestimate the consequences, or simply don’t know how to shift people from compliance to commitment.

At the Strategic Commitment Group, we work with clients who are unwilling to settle for compliance and are determined to build organization-wide commitment. We work with leadership teams to generate total alignment and engagment by focusing on four distinct areas.