The Commitment Engine: Making Work Worth It , by John Jantsch
Anybody who has ever read one of John’s blog posts or heard him speak knows he’s a straight shooting, plain speaking business leader who has a knack for making just good business sense available to everyone. In The Commitment Engine he shows us what commitment really means in a business and a personal sense. Commitment isn’t just sticking to your path no matter what, it’s finding and retaining the passion that makes your business sing. It’s sharing that commitment to your passion with your staff and your customers so you all support the dreams that got you there in the first place. It’s making work fun.
More than one of those books that gets you all jacked up and inspired but doesn’t quite give you the tools to move forward, this book delivers real case studies to learn from and a process for planning your own successes. That includes online tools and strategies to help get your staff and customers engaged in the process of building a culture around your company that reflects it’s values so that both staff and customers have an investment in it’s success.
This isn’t some 60’s throwback philosophy, it’s an idea about giving employees a sense of ownership in the business. It’s not about revenue sharing–though that certainly could be part of it–it’s about creating a culture where employees feel pride of ownership through making the company successful.
Think about it like this. Your average fast food employee does their job every day, puches the clock, picks up their check and goes home. If they see something that needs fixing, a problem that needs solving, do they go out of their way to solve it? Maybe not. Why? Because it doesn’t matter if they do or not. Life will go on, and in the end the business rolls along with them or without them.
But, when an employee feels valued and heard by their boss, they are more likely to take an extra few steps to solve a problem because they have a sense of belonging to something, of ownership. Simply by recognizing the value of an employee, empowering them to make decisions, relying on them in a visible way for the growth of the business you enrich the company and the staff. Allowing everyone in the company to see what is going on and how the business is running motivates them to think of the company as their own, and it is this kind of transparency that make it more than a job.
Replacing managers with teams
John shares several examples of transparency between the business owners and staff. The story of Sky Factory which has no VP’s, no managers or shop supervisors to “run things”. Instead the company is organized into functional teams related to their work and a rolling facilitation model to serve as a manager. entire staff sits down together every Friday to go over performance metrics and financial information and everyone can see how their role and performance affects the bottom line of the company and of their co-workers. And that’s what they are, co-workers. The traditional hierarchy isn’t there because it’s not necessary. People do their best because they believe in the company and their part in it is important.
For me everything relates to community in some way. Certainly a business does. John suggests that “In a perfect world, every business would spend a year or so doing nothing but community building before they ever open the doors.” How amazing would that be? Think of how much better you would know what your customer needed? How would it change your core business goals? How much would that community trust you as a business and value you as a part of the community?
Generosity in business
In the book he says “A commitment engine business must always ask ‘How can we make what we give away better than what our competitors charge for?'” and invites us to consider a business model that offers training, teaching and sharing with other members of the community no matter what industry or product. That can be really hard for many businesses to swallow, but I’ve seen it be very successful in my own business. You’ll never hear me charge a client more for helping them understand a concept or refuse to help spread the word about a worthy product or cause. My business is all about community, and in my case that community is the world. How freaking cool is that?
Want a free copy of the commitment engine?
I did get a review copy of the book, but honestly I would have bought it anyway, and in fact I did. Not only that, I got a copy of the audio book too! With as many hours as I put in the car I really enjoy listening to audio books, and I listen, think about the chapter and how I can put it to use. SO, now I have two copies of the book and I’d like to give one to you. Just post in the comments on the original post here and tell us you’re ready to make a commitment to making your business work and by extension making your life and the lives of your employees better! I’ll randomly pick a winner on Dec 10 and ship it to you in time for your holiday reading. (US Residents only please). Please post your Twitter handle or email address so I can find you.
Have you read my book yet? “Social Media Success! – Practical advice and real-world examples for social media” is available on Amazon