I have been in or around the career coaching industry for nearly two and a half decades, first as an executive recruiter, and currently a professional executive and career coach and CEO of one of the world’s first firms focused primarily on Recruitment Process Optimization (RPOptimization). So it comes as no surprise that I speak to people daily who adamantly confess that they are committed to improving their business’ performance or taking their career to the next level. Yet, as with many things in life, their actions haven’t historically supported their words.
So many CEOs say they want to increase company profits, yet when it comes to making tough decisions and implementing changes they don’t take the necessary steps to put a process in place. Making changes in people and to processes can be time consuming and CEOs are busy. They often look for a panacea or tool that will fix their issues. They conclude that the status quo is really not that bad after all. Then there are the executives who “get” that they can make a difference in their organization and take the steps necessary to seek counsel and advice to elicit change in their organization. These committed individuals are such a pleasure to work with and look back on the “work” they’ve done with such satisfaction. My personal career clients will attest that they have been in a job that isn’t truly using their talents or they’ve been unemployed for many months and continue using the same approach to landing a new career that hasn’t worked in the past. Does this sound like the way you’re running your company or approaching your career?
If it does, then perhaps we should start at the same point as I do with all my clients. Asking them to define and explain the word “commitment”. Over the last twenty years I have come to recognize that there is a large grey gap between two very disparate words, “want” and “commitment”, that to some are interchangeable in life, especially when approaching their careers. Perhaps the best way to describe the discrepancy between the two is to invoke two other words, “many” and “few”. If my logic isn’t obvious at this point then remember this, “Many want, few commit”.
Over the years, I’ve learned not to take any clients into my practice that aren’t 100% committed to my process. I’ve discovered that “want” is a waste of time and successful clients are too important to my business to jeopardize with “want”. Those that “commit” are almost always successful at achieving their goals.
Recently, one of my clients took a new job and was committed to this new company. Toward the end of the first year he was thinking about quitting. We reviewed his decision-making and commitment he’d made to the company and three months later he saw his commitment pay off. On the other hand, I had a corporate prospect whose company has been churning employees for years, costing them millions in lost revenue. He was very straight with me about knowing that his churn was costing him millions, but was still making money in spite of this costly fact. He just wouldn’t come around to how much more they would be making if they would commit to a process. Bottom line…Nothing’s changed for this company.
The decision between “want” and “commitment” comes up for each of us regularly. I want to lose 10 pounds, but am I committed to doing it? I want to achieve more in my career, but am I committed to taking the necessary steps to help get me there? I want my business profits to improve, but am I committed to the investment needed to achieve this?