Commitment is Over-valued!

Statutory Warning: This article is provocative!!

I have read enough about the power of positive attitude and related gyan! 

In my 2 decades of corporate training experience, I have met diverse people donning different Roles—this makes me think if words like attitude, commitment etc., are over-valued, in relation to Competence!

The word Competence is inextricably linked to the word Role; hence, let me take a role, say, “Parent”, just as an example.

In a professional setup, one is not given a role unless one is “formally” trained to don that role. But, one tends to take on the role of a “Parent”, without any formal training—many tend to use “assumed competence”!!

It is easy to become a “Father”… but not that easy to be a “Parent”… 

I have taken this role as an example since “Commitment” to this role can never be questioned in any parent! Every parent is totally committed to their children’s welfare, success, growth etc… But, the gap is in “Competence”, in many cases!

Let’s consider some situations here:

How to handle a situation if the child brings the lunch box without eating? 

  • Here, if one yells at the child or pulls up the child, the child DOES NOT learn to eat the lunch, but learns to empty the box in the trash can and bring it back, the next time!!

How to handle a child that argues back with the same logic or words that the parent had used earlier, albeit in a different context?

  • How the parent handles the child at this point determines many aspects of the future behavior/conditioning in the child!

How to “Influence” the child rather than “Controlling” the child?

  • Many parents try and control the child by the power of their position, without realizing the loss of key factors such as Rapport, Trust etc. in the bargain!! Many parents do not have the basic knowledge on child psychology and hence are not aware of the truth that the entrance to the mind is through the heart!! It is key knowledge that children learn ONLY from people whom they “like”!!

How to discipline the child, without losing rapport and compassion?

  • As the famous quotation goes, “Spare the rod and spoil the child”… While it is imperative that every child needs to be disciplined at some stage, the actual “how” of it is sheer Competence.

In all the above examples, it is clear that Specific Competence is very essential, while mere Commitment cannot deliver results!! In fact, excessive Commitment with much less Competence leads one to frustration, anger and similar corrosive emotions.

While it is commonly understood that, it is always the mix of both commitment and competence that produces sustained results, the “right mix” is the point of discussion here.  It is in the context of the “mix” that I think Commitment is Over-valued!! 

Pls don’t get me wrong—I am NOT saying that Intent/Commitment is not required!!

Many organizations today are measuring the “Potential” of a person and are taking key decisions based on this parameter than on Competence!! Of what value is Potential if it does not get converted to Competence / Performance / Results? 

After all, Potential Energy has to be converted to Kinetic Energy! Right? 

Many organizations are giving senior roles to people who have demonstrated mere commitment (or loyalty?) to the company, with much less competence—at that level, competence should take an equal weight at least. Isn’t it? Many top leaders are very hesitant/embarrassed to sideline such committed people in favour of Competent Successors who could even be much junior!! 

A sure recipe for disaster, according to me!

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