Developing a habit of making and keeping commitments

It’s the New Year.  Time for some new thinking and new goals.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in your organization had a habit of making and keeping their commitments?  Can you imagine how much smoother operations would be; how much better morale would be; how much happier your customers would be; how much more successful the organization would be?

Learning habits follows a process.  First you learn the new behavior, then you practice until it becomes a habit.  It’s a simple process, but not at all easy. Learning a new behavior requires awareness, intention and most often guidance.  Practice means consistent repetition.  Habits only form after a considerable number of repetitions.

One of the greatest powers of software is its ability to shorten and reinforce the making of new habits.  That notion is the core idea for the design of our CommitKeeper tool.

First, CommitKeeper teaches the process of making and keeping commitments.  Done properly this process requires a clear request, a negotiated agreement with a specific due date, on-time delivery of that agreement by the performer, and acceptance/feedback from the requester.  To be precise, the new behavior does not guarantee that all tasks will be done on time.  Rather, making and keeping commitments is about elevating (or is it deepening) the quality of the conversation between two individuals acting with intention, mutual respect and care about the agreements they make with each other.  In addition to guiding both requester and performer through the commitment conversation the software provides a record of the conversation and clear focus on who has the ball for the next action.

Second, adopting a system forces consistent repetition of the new behavior for making and keeping commitments.  Without a new system, it’s too easy to “fall back” onto old habits.  The software also provides an archive of completed conversations for review and further learning.

Getting better at meeting commitments takes more than just talking about it.  Adopting a new system is a great way to develop new habits.


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