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Price Pritchett, Ph.D.
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Let’s accept the fact that change has a destructive streak. It can rip the heart out of an organization. It can kill the spirit.

At the very time an organization needs the best performance out of people, change often leaves job commitment lying wounded and weak.

But change can be used to charge up the organization. That’s because change opens up doors to people’s hearts and minds that otherwise might stay forever locked.

The secret is to meet people at their point of need.

You must manage to the moment . . . bring what’s missing . . . repair what change has damaged or destroyed. And you need to move quickly, because high-velocity change puts heavy demands on the organization. You need people who invest themselves fully in their work, people who deliver dramatic results.

Basically, it comes down to this—you need to build a burning level of job commitment, and you need to do it by yesterday. In today’s world of work, you can’t afford to tolerate a commitment level that remains at room temperature.

The 14 guidelines in this book explain how you can counter the chilling effects of change. Follow this coaching, and watch job commitment heat up immediately.

This is your chance to create fire.


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What can you rightfully ask of employees during times like these?

Not blind loyalty. We’ve all learned that the world puts hard limits on how loyal the organization can be in return.

But apart from that, right now you need a lot more than allegiance from employees. Loyalty can get lazy. Or be misdirected. Some of the so-called “loyalists” actually cause big problems because they resist change and try to perpetuate an outdated culture that could kill the organization.

So what about high morale? Should that be your target? The short answer is “no.”

High morale can be an unrealistic goal, given all the uncertainty, stress, and negative emotions. Besides, morale may not matter much so far as results are concerned. Sometimes, odd as it sounds, low morale is a good sign the organization is doing things dead right. Some of the tough moves managers need to make in today’s world are guaranteed to drive morale due south. But when you’re faced with the choice between doing what’s necessary to protect the organization or keeping people happy, you’d better take sides with the organization. Defending it enables you to do the most good for the most people, so be willing to make sacrifices in employee attitudes.

Performance is what pays the bills. Not loyalty. Not morale.

What you should ask for is high job commitment. Commitment works a lot harder than loyalty, and gets more done than morale does. Commitment energizes. It empowers. It inspires creativity and pulls a person’s true potential into play. That’s crucial, because the organization can’t get by anymore with mediocre performers. It can’t afford to carry dead weight or accept half-hearted effort by employees.

Is it fair to ask for high commitment under today’s conditions? It’s unfair not to.

Commitment is self-nourishing. Even as it draws power from the spirit, it feeds the soul. Commitment gives meaning to work and deepens one’s sense of self-worth. It offers the best protection for the employee even as it strengthens the organization.

Commitment is simply a no-lose proposition. Everybody benefits . . . but the employee enjoys the richest rewards of all.

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Chapter 1—
Be Passionate in Your Job Commitment.

People always look at the leader when they want to take the pulse of an organization. Example says a lot. Do they see a boss they can believe in? Can they have faith in whom they follow? Does the fire inside the leader burn hot enough for them to warm from the heat of that flame?

Commitment climbs when people see passion in the person in charge. They catch the feeling. Commitment, after all, is a highly contagious thing. It’s a spirit that stirs others, that touches their souls, that inspires them to action. It carries a mental magnetism that captures the attention and enlists the energies of all who watch.

The more consuming your commitment, the more you draw your people toward you. And toward the task to be done. Your intensity—your focus, drive, and dedication—carries maximum influence over the level of commitment you can expect from others.

Like it or not, you set the climate. People always take a reading on the person in charge. So when it comes to building commitment, you must lead by example, just as commanders must show courage if they want soldiers to show bravery on the battlefield.

If you provide lukewarm leadership, you’ll see the passion cool among your people. Commitment can’t survive when the leader doesn’t seem to care. So be obvious. Turn up the burner inside yourself. Let the heat of your commitment be strong enough to glow in the dark.

The first chore in managing change is the toughest: self-management. Handle that right, and you’re halfway home.

Examine your own attitude. Evaluate your personal investment in pushing for change.

Sometimes the best management tool is a mirror.

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