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The Commitment Principle In Doing Business

There is this principle in management that we refer to as the “commitment principle.” The commitment principle simply says that if at the start of any plan you have not made any resolve to pursue the plan to its successful conclusion which is, of course, to realize a goal or an objective, then in reality it is as if you have not made a plan at all! You may have conceptualized something in your mind and even put that thing in writing with all the attendant facts and timetable but if at the very start you have not really committed yourself to pursue it, then you have not really planned at all. And having no real plan, you will not realize anything in the near or far future.

Commitment is the real driving force in anything we need to accomplish. Just think about it. You undertake to run in a 10K marathon. You have everything in you to complete the run. You’re in perfect health, have had a good breakfast to fully energize you, and a good pair of running shoes. But you have no real commitment to finish the race so at the first instance you felt the muscles in your legs tighten, you slowed down and ultimately quit the race. You had no real commitment to finish it. In that fable about the race of the turtle and the hare, it was the hare’s lack of commitment to win that caused him to rest

In the post war analysis of the protracted Vietnam war, many analysts believe that one of the things that ultimately led the Americans to defeat was lack of commitment to win the war. America had all the firepower it needed to win the war. What was lacking was real commitment brought about in part by ambiguity of overall objective. In contrast the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong never wavered in their commitment to unify their nation.

If you want to accomplish anything in your business plan, then commit. Commitment may come in stages. You can start with small things. As your confidence level increases, then you can have a corresponding increase in your level of commitment in time, effort, money and other resources. Many successful businesses have grown in this way. You may start part-time and as you begin to generate profit from the business, your level of confidence and commitment increase until you may reach the point where you may decide to devote yourself full-time in doing it.

Since commitment is basically a subjective state, can you have an internal barometer, something that can give you an indicator of your commitment to a business? I suggest a simple litmus test. If you yourself are not patronizing your own products or services, then you are not committed.

Always refer back o the commitment principle in doing business. Do not embark on business you know you cannot be committed. But once you have made up your mind to do the business, be committed.


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