Tag Archives: commitment

Being the first follower

Our Talent Management Steering Committee spent yesterday in a year-end retreat. We had the opportunity to receive a briefing on Charting the Future from Jaime Simonsen and Todd Harmening, who are providing guidance and support to the implementation teams.

Along with a great deal of useful background information, Todd shared this video.  It’s a fun, and very concise, example of how to start a social movement.  One of the key points is the importance of the first follower – that’s the person who turns someone from a “lone nut” into a leader.

dancing movement guy1

dancing movement guy2dancing movemeng guy3


We’ve been talking about leadership actions that can build accountability and commitment. Yesterday’s retreat reminded me that sometimes the best way we can lead is by being good followers. As the video says, eventually there is a tipping point where it’s more desirable to join in than to stay apart.

How can we encourage people to join into our dance?  Here’s some food for thought as we move into Charting the Future and other change efforts.

  1. How do I talk about change efforts? Am I using supportive language and expressing legitimate concerns in a tone of respect and curiosity?  Or do I model negative attitudes?
  2. Am I displaying the behaviors that we want to see in others? Do I keep myself informed about the change effort and provide support and input where appropriate?
  3. Am I honoring my commitments and holding myself accountable for what I need to do?  If not, how can I expect others to do so?
  4. Am I making it easy and fun for others to join in?

Beginning work on Charting the Future can be like trying to start a movement.  Just like the dancing guy in the video, implementation teams are taking those first steps.  But it’s up to each of us to figure out how to join the dance and become effective followers.

Dee Anne Bonebright



Accountability and commitment

“Accountability is the willingness to care for the well-being of the whole; commitment is the willingness to make a promise with no expectation of return.” – Peter Block, in Community: the Structure of Belonging

This year we’ve been exploring how leaders can effectively lead change efforts through various stages. So far, we’ve discussed:

  1. Assess Current State
  2. Articulate Vision
  3. Set Strategy and Goals
  4. Engage Stakeholders

This month, we will be gathering methods, tools, resources, and hopefully, inspiration that leaders can use to build accountability and commitment for a change effort. Building accountability and commitment is critical to making sure a change begins to be implemented, but it is sometimes an overlooked stage of change.

I’ve witnessed and have participated in change efforts that move through the first four stages beautifully, but then get bogged down because there is an assumption made that everything will flow smoothly after a strategy is set and stakeholders and/or employees are given their charge. When progress slows because of low accountability or commitment, employees and stakeholders can feel confused, frustrated, and sometimes even angry. I’ve even seen people give up on the change effort. Have you ever experienced that phenomenon?

As we begin our month-long series, I’d like to ask you what have you done to build accountability and commitment that has worked well?

Anita Rios