Responsibility and CommitmentHave you been following my blog posts on commitment and attachment recently? Over the past few weeks I have shared some thoughts and trends I see in the MSP community when it comes to being too attached to something and also the commitment many of you have for providing your MSP services.

I would like to continue this thread by introducing the next hurdle in our development cycle as company leaders: The debate between responsibility and commitment. We would like to believe that the two go hand in hand, but this may not be 100% true all the time.

Imagine this: You have a support professional working at your help desk or you may even outsource your help desk to one of the leading IT services. Now, is this person committed to the success of your business? We would like to think so. We would like to believe that everyone we work with or employ is responsible, committed and supports our missions.

However, responsibility and commitment don’t always fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Your staff may be committed to the end goal, but do they take responsibility for everything that occurs? We don’t need to look too far to see perfect examples of commitment and responsibility. We just need to look at the Canadian airline company WestJet. Why does WestJet continue to grow and turn profits quarter after quarter when their competitor Air Canada struggles to make ends meet?

I prefer to fly Air Canada simply because of the perks. It is not the people who make the Air Canada experience enjoyable; it is the perks of the lounge and upgrades that draw me. WestJet, which lacks business class and exclusive lounges, relies on people to create the customer experience.

WestJet has a culture of professional responsibility. The entire team has the power to make the right decisions for their guests, no red tapes or hoops to jump through. WestJet employees are committed to creating a positive customer experience, and they take responsibility for the choices they make to achieve that goal. This is where responsibility and commitment align.

It starts at the top with you the business leader when you allow your team to be responsible for taking care of your clients. Because they are free to make what they think are the best choices for the clients, they become committed to making the right choices. This is what’s known as committed responsibility.

When responsibility and commitment don’t align, your team members only care about what matters to them. They start saying things like “not my job” or “not my responsibility.” When, actually, everything that affects the client is the entire team’s responsibility.

Here are some quick tips to create a culture of responsible commitment:

  1. Empower your team members and reinforce every day that everyone is responsible for doing right by the client. Your staff must know that no one will ever be reprimanded for doing or attempting to do the right thing.
  2. It starts at the top. The leader must eat, sleep and live responsible commitment and do everything in his or her power to walk this line. That means financial responsibility, staff responsibility and client responsibility. After all, like it or not, you are the leader and all eyes are on you, 24 hours a day.
  3. Cross train your team. Techs need to know sales; marketing needs to know operations; financial needs to know client services; and everyone must be aware of what everyone else does each day. This creates the culture of professional responsibility.

There are many other examples of what we must do to create culture of responsible commitment in our firms. What can you do today to take that first step? It doesn’t matter if you are a brand new technician or the president. Everyone has a professional responsibility to be completely committed to the end goal. Are you?

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