Creating A Team Commitment

This information is designed to give you insight into just how important it is to establish a ‘team commitment.’ You’ll find out why they are important and how to create a team commitment, And you’ll see some examples.

A team commitment is literally that. A commitment by the team to the customers. It clearly states what the team is willing to commit to do for the customers. Team commitments are very powerful tools that increase your customer’s level of confidence in your business.

Interestingly, the process of building a team commitment actually creates a ‘team’ within your business, so that the staff doesn’t work independently. It makes it easier for team members to understand their roles and responsibilities, too, and it gives them a guide by which to make decisions.

A team commitment could be created by the team for the team; that is, what they commit to do for each other. It could be created by the owners or managers of the business for the team and vice versa.

If your customers’ involvement in a certain process really can affect the value they receive from that process, you can create a team commitment. The team in this instance consists of the customer and supplier, who are working together for the best results. So you can see that team commitments apply to all sorts of ‘teams.’

No involvement = no commitment

One issue that comes up again and again for most business owners is this question: ‘How do I get my team as committed as I am to the enterprise?

This is probably one of the most frustrating issues for most business owners and managers.

Most complain that team members ‘don’t take responsibility, cost too much, don’t do any more than they have to, arrive late, go home early, make mistakes all the time, don’t take any responsibility, blame each other or the customers, drag their family problems into work, make personal phone calls all day. It would be easier to do it myself.’

So much so that when surveyed about the positives and negatives about being in business, the vast majority of people include their staff in the negative column.

There are literally hundreds of theories about how to solve this issue, but there’s just one common thread to win that all-important commitment:

The involvement of your people.

Many business owners complain that people just show up. And it’s true, isn’t it? Many times, people turn up, do a ‘fair days work for a fair day’s pay,’ and go home. In the meantime, you can just feel it—the lack of commitment or willingness to go an extra mile.

And therein lies the problem—they’re just showing up. This drives most business owners or managers crazy. There is no commitment.

At the same time, in most situations like this, the point often has to be made that there is, conversely, no involvement of the team. No opportunity to contribute, to get involved, to understand where the business is heading, your vision, and how they can be a part of that.

In this instance, how can anyone expect anything more from employees—except to just do their jobs?! Really, they haven’t been given any the opportunity to do anything else!

It’s that involvement that’s critical. It’s that involvement that literally breeds commitment.

You see, if people are treated like they’re just employees, they’ll behave as if they have just a job. They’ll get there when they have to, do their job diligently (if you’re lucky), and be the first out the door at 5:00 p.m.

 So, if your team members are treating their roles as if it’s ‘just a job,’ it’s time to get them more involved.

Think back to when you were employed by someone. Did anyone ever treat you that way, as if you were just an employee to be ordered about, never asked an opinion? Unfortunately for most of us, the answer is yes. On further thought, people usually notice that they weren’t that committed either.

Remember your experiences for a moment. Remember how it felt. Remember how you hated it. Remember how you couldn’t wait to get out of there. Remember how frustrated that made you. Remember how bored you were. Remember how you felt that little bit trapped. Remember how your whole life revolved around your weekend. Maybe it was these kinds of jobs that made you want to set up your business?

At this point, nobody wins.

The employees lose a little life every day. The owners or managers do the same. Both feel incredibly frustrated. Many blame each other. Many have an ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ mentality. And the customers are usually lost somewhere in the middle.

You lose even more, too. You see, it’s your team members who are on the front line, dealing with your customers face-to-face or on the phone day in and day out. This means they have an invaluable and immense understanding of what the customers want, what problems exist, what could be done to solve the problems, and, better yet, ideas on how to grow your business. (Great ideas for your business usually come from 2 sources: your customers and your team. If you aren’t involving your team, you’re missing out on a MASSIVE opportunity to grow your business.) Their role in your growth is pivotal.

The amazing thing is this: Most people would leap tall buildings in a single bound to have a job that asked more of them. Just like you, most people DON’T want just a job.

Even if they’re acting like it right now, they DO NOT—REPEAT DO NOT—want just a job.

Most people want to take pride in their work. Most people want to contribute. Most want to do a good job. Most are happy to make an effort.

Most want something to get them excited. Something they can contribute to. Something that makes them want to get up in the mornings. People need passion in their lives. Having just a job doesn’t do that for anyone! A bigger picture, like what your business is there to do and how they can contribute to it as part of, and over and above, their job—DOES.

With the world changing so quickly, people need a sense of belonging. A sense of being part of something greater than themselves, greater than just a confined job. Many people look for that in the workplace and very few find it. Most find just a job. Your ‘vision’ for your business, your sense of what you’re trying to achieve, could be just the thing to give them that bigger picture.

It follows, then, that many companies have high staff turnover simply because people can do ‘just a job’ only for so long. At some point, they virtually have to move on and look for something more fulfilling, something where they feel their contribution is valued and recognised.

‘I’ve tried it—it doesn’t work!’

On the other hand, perhaps you’ve said you’re interested in their opinion or told them they can take the initiative. If so, you’re on the right track.

Unfortunately, years of being led by rules and regulations through childhood, schooling, and other jobs means that without some clear guidelines, most people are uncomfortable about jumping in, making suggestions, and going the extra mile—when they’re not sure of the results from above.

People often think, ‘I hear what you say, but I don’t know what you’ll do.’ It means people need more parameters.

The key then is to do something.

Something that demonstrates your commitment to work with them. Something that demonstrates their commitment to work with you to get the results your customers want. Something that establishes what ‘we will and won’t do and what to expect.’ Something you build together, something that helps build a team.

Something called a ‘team commitment.’

A great way to work this out with your team is to call a team meeting. Explain that you want to get their involvement in more areas of the business. Tell them that you want to make a commitment to them, have them commit to their roles and, together, make some commitments to customers.

Then hand out a blank version, something similar to the examples included here, about a week before another team meeting and ask each of them to fill in their ideas.

At the meeting, thank them for their ideas, write down their ideas on a whiteboard, and distil them into a set of commitments that everyone ‘owns’ and commits to.

Better yet, have each and every person sign the commitment.

Then print your team commitments. Frame a very large version, including all team members’ signatures, and hang it in your shop or lobby. Use it as a feature, point it out to visitors if they don’t notice it first. Hang copies throughout your premises. That way, you, your customers, and your team members have a constant reminder of your commitments.

You can use this team commitment as a sales tool. Give potential and existing customers a copy. Use a ‘PS’ on a letter you might be sending out or a ‘with compliments’ slip or business card attached to the team commitment to explain it.

It could say something like this:

[Client Name], you’ll notice I’ve sent you a ‘team commitment.’ This team commitment is for you. Literally. We’ve listened to your feedback over the years, sat down together, and come up with [number of] commitments we’re fully willing and able to make, specifically, to you.

These commitments have been created so that we’ll do a better job for you all the time. Hope you like them—they really are for you. Let me know what you think.

[Your Name]

Team commitments show customers and potential customers another way that you’re different from your competitors. Different and better. It also builds their confidence in your ability to do their job right or meet their needs.

Team commitments can also be developed between the customers and your business. This way, the team, the 2 of you, are committed to whatever is required to make your relationship work well. An example is included here as well.

Not only that, team commitments can be used between teams. That is, team members can commit to each other in detail in a separate in-house team commitment.

Some examples for you

Working through these examples, you’ll notice team commitments are very individual, almost personal. And that’s because they’re a direct reflection of you and your team. They are a reflection of the personality, of the heart, of your business—your team as a whole.

Our Team Commitment to You

1. You will receive friendly, courteous, awesome service. You will be respected and not taken for granted.

2. We will honor our commitments to you absolutely.

3. Our products will always be of an exceptional quality and designed to add significantly to your business.

4. All of our programs carry a very specific performance guarantee so that we remove any risk from trying them.

5. You will always be able to seek our help to implement any of the programs in your business.

6. We believe totally that your perception of our performance is always the reality.

7. We will acknowledge any communication you have with us before the end of the next working day.

8. We will be honest, truthful, and “up front” with you at all times.

9. Our people have the authority to make decisions for you without the need for referral.

10. We will communicate with you frequently and openly as we build a “win-win” and long-term partnership with you.

11. Our products will rarely, if ever, be the cheapest on the market. They will, though, always be the absolute best quality and value so that you get real benefit from them.

12. Your feedback is critical to our continuing to innovate and improve. We always look forward to hearing your ideas, your comments, and your suggestions.

Another business went for something like this:

Performance Standards

  • Do fabulous work and be known around the world for our innovativeness.
  •  Attract exciting people—some of whom are a little offbeat.
  • Constantly question the way things are and never, ever rest on our laurels (today’s laurels are tomorrow’s compost).
  • Make sure that those who leave us, voluntarily or involuntarily, can testify to having learned a lot, having had a special experience, and having made fast friends while they were with us.
  • Have a supportive, stretching, zany, laughter-filled environment where people support one another and politics is as absent as it can be in a human (i.e., imperfect) enterprise.
  • Ensure that no question or innuendo ever surfaces about our ethics.
  • Dot the i’s, cross the t’s, answer the phones within 2 rings (no interrogation, no “can I take a message,” but offer genuine help), send out errorless invoices, and in general never forget that success is in the details.
  • Work with exciting customers (and other partners) who turn us on and stretch us, from whom we can learn, and with whom we enjoy associating (and who pay their bills on time, too).
  • Take in substantially more money than we spend (where spending includes above-average rewards and a very high level of investment in the future).
  • Grow via quality services and customers, not via growth for growth’s sake.

An exclusive and successful hotel uses this credo as its team commitment.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Credo

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission. We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests, who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience. The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.

  1. The Credo will be known, owned, and energized by all employees.
  2. W e are “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”
  3. The 3 steps of service shall be practiced by all employees.
  4. “Smile.” “We are on stage.” Always maintain positive eye contact.
  5. Use the proper vocabulary with guests (eliminate—hello—hi—okay—folks)
  6. Uncompromising levels of cleanliness are the responsibility of every employee.
  7. Create a positive work environment. Practice teamwork and lateral service.
  8. Be an ambassador of the hotel inside and outside of the workplace. Always talk positively. No negative comments.
  9. Any employee who receives a complaint “owns” the complaint.
  10. Instant guest pacification will be ensured by all. Respond to guest wishes within 10 minutes of the request. Follow up with a telephone call within 20 minutes to ensure their satisfaction.
  11. Use a guest Incident Action Form to communicate guest problems to fellow employees and managers. This will help ensure that our guests are never forgotten.
  12. Escort guests, instead of pointing out directions to another area of the hotel.
  13. Be knowledgeable about hotel information to answer guest inquiries.
  14. Use proper telephone etiquette. Answer within 2 rings and with a smile.  Ask permission to put a caller on hold. Do not screen calls. Eliminate call transfers when possible.
  15. Always recommend the hotel’s food and beverage outlets before recommending outside facilities.
  16. Uniforms are to be immaculate. Wear proper footwear (clean and polished) and your correct nametag.
  17. Ensure all employees know their roles during emergency situations and are aware of procedures. (Practice fire and safety procedures monthly.)
  18. Notify your supervisor immediately of hazards, injuries, equipment, or assistance needs you have.
  19. Practice energy conservation and proper maintenance and repair of hotel property and equipment.
  20. Protecting the assets of a Ritz-Carlton Hotel is the responsibility of every employee.

The Three Steps of Service

  1. A warm and sincere greeting. Use the guest name, if and when possible
  2. Anticipation and compliance with guest needs.
  3. Fond farewell. Give them a warm good-bye and use their names, if and when possible.

Here's one from a hairdressing salon:

Our Team Commitment to You

At Jenny’s Hair salons, we pride ourselves on giving you the very best haircut and design so that you’re totally delighted with what we do for you. (That way, you’ll recommend your friends to come and see us, too). We will never strive to be the cheapest—simply we’ll keep striving to be the best.

We observe the following standards:
1. You must be totally delighted with what we do for you and how we do it—otherwise we won’t charge you for our services.
2. If you’re ever disappointed with the cut or the color, not only won’t we charge you, your next visit to our Salon will be “on us”—you won’t be asked to pay.
3. If we ever keep you waiting longer than 3 minutes before we start work on your hair, you’ll receive a complimentary bottle of our shampoo absolutely free as our way of making up for the error on our part.
4. We’ll always wash your hair and massage your scalp thoroughly for 5 minutes before we start cutting your hair unless you ask us not to.
5. One of our Professional Team will always recommend hair care products to you as part of our service—that way you can be certain you’re using the right products for your hair group and style so that your hair looks great every day.
6. We’ll always offer you tea, coffee, water, or juice when you arrive.
7. We’ll always give you your “next appointment card” before you leave

And finally here’s one that comes from an accounting firm that sets out the commitment for the firm as well as the client:

Our Mutual Commitment

We both agree that the objective of the work we’re about to do is to increase the financial reward and personal satisfaction you receive from your business.

My Commitment to You

  • I will act honestly and with integrity in everything I do for and with you.
  • I will respect absolutely the confidentiality of our working relationship.
  • I will return your phone calls within 24 hours even when I am out of town. When I am on vacation, I will advise you in advance and arrange for someone else in our firm to look after you.
  • I will meet the deadlines I set with you, or I will advise you in advance of my inability to do so for reasons absolutely outside of my control.
  • I will give you a firm estimate of the fee for each phase of the assignment and will discuss with you any variation that may be necessary.

Your Commitment to Me

  • You will be open and frank with me at all times, and you will advise me of any concerns you have with any aspect of the work I do (or our firm does) for you.
  • You will provide me with all the information I require and access to your Team within the framework we agree upon.
  • You will make time to attend to any aspect of the assignment that you agree to work on, and you will meet the associated deadlines subject to problems that are beyond your control.
  • You will attend to our account on the terms we agree upon, which will generally be within 7 days of the completion of each occasion of service or phase of the assignment.
  • You will give consideration to referring me to at least 1 other business person who you believe would benefit from the work I do.

If you would like to discuss building a team commitment contact our team for a chat.