Commitment! Who needs it?

Long-term action happens through commitment, especially if motivation waxes and wanes.

When someone has committed, and stays committed, they will act even if right now it isn’t on their favourite tasks list.

That sense of commitment can be driven either internally or from external pressures.

It is internal if the person acts knowing that it is the right thing to do, even if they don’t feel like doing it. (Think of that early morning exercise in the rain or declining that extra helping of pudding.)

It is external if they act because of the negative consequences of not acting. This can happen when they are held accountable by their manager, or when they simply don’t want to be last amongst their peers.

How can you generate either internal or external commitment in each of the stakeholders who need to act to produce learning transfer?

  • Let all the stakeholders know how they will be held accountable, and the consequences of not stepping up.
  • Have people make pledges and even sign them. For example, get each trainee to have their manager sign a pledge on how the manager will help and support the trainee through their learning transfer process.
  • Make the actions of people visible, so they are aware of their ‘audience’ and how this will affect their reputation.
  • No one wants to be last, so help them avoid this embarrassment.
  • Ensure they have clarity on what they are committing to.
  • Ensure they believe they have the support they need to do it.

Ensure they do indeed have all the support they need, so they cannot use lack of support as an excuse not to act.