Nielsen: Inspire Commitment… Not Just Compliance!

There is much truth and power in the following high-impact leadership principle:  

 “When we do what we choose to do, we are committed.  When we do what we have to do, we are compliant.”

Millions, probably billions of employees, staff, and associates across America and around the world are compliant, but not committed.  The same is true in the healthcare industry, particularly among non-clinical support and administrative staff, most of whom did not proactively choose and plan a career in healthcare.   

For most of these people, at some point a job became available… and they took it.  There was no career commitment, and in most cases, no real personal or organizational commitment.  A job became available… and they took it.

Whether verbalized or not, the attitude and philosophy of many of these people is to “comply… do what they tell me to do… and stay out of trouble for as long as I am here.”

To allow these people to maintain this attitude and philosophy over an extended period of time, is a failure of the organization’s leadership.

In order to achieve anywhere close to the full potential of any organization, including any healthcare organization, leaders must inspire these employees to move from compliance to personal and organizational commitment.

The most effective way to move these people from compliance to commitment is to continuously create opportunities for them to make positive choices that are in their best interest and in the best interest of the organization.

People want, in fact people crave choices.  People who have alternatives (the kind and quality of people you want in your organization) demand choices.  Don’t you?  Of course you do.  And so do the people who work in your organization, regardless of the department or the work they perform. 

We all can improve… even the very best of us.  If you desire to improve your leadership impact and results, significantly reduce the number of times and situations in which you demand or mandate compliance.  Simultaneously, significantly increase the number of choices you create that will inspire personal, professional and organizational commitment.  Just as “culture eats strategy for lunch,” overwhelming commitment will make compliance a non-issue.

If, after a reasonable amount of time (but not too much time!), members of your staff are not moving from a compliance mentality to an open and sincere commitment mentality, either the employee needs to go or the leader needs to go.

Great leaders expect and inspire commitment!  Great leaders create a culture that intentionally creates a continuous stream of personal, professional and organizational choices.  Choices that inspire employees to commit, and to give their most precious and limited resource (their time) in service to that organization and to those that organization serves.

You are the leader.  It is up to you.  Provide positive choices!

When your employees do what they choose to do, they will be committed.  When they do what they have to do, they will be compliant.


Copyright © 2011 by Dan Nielsen

Founder, National Institute for Healthcare Leadership  

Cell 214-695-1292

Be the first to comment on "Nielsen: Inspire Commitment… Not Just Compliance!"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.