The Power of Strategic Commitment: Achieving Extraordinary Results Through Total Alignment and Engagement


Not just a slogan on the T-shirts you give out at the company picnic, commitment is a crucial strategic advantage in any organization. But it’s as elusive to achieve as it is easy to covet. Real commitment transcends simple compliance, where employees follow the rules and get their work done, and translates to the active engagement of every individual in everything he or she does.

The Power of Strategic Commitment not only shows you what that level of engagement looks like, it ...

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The Power of Strategic Commitment: Achieving Extraordinary Results Through Total Alignment and Engagement

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Not just a slogan on the T-shirts you give out at the company picnic, commitment is a crucial strategic advantage in any organization. But it’s as elusive to achieve as it is easy to covet. Real commitment transcends simple compliance, where employees follow the rules and get their work done, and translates to the active engagement of every individual in everything he or she does.

The Power of Strategic Commitment not only shows you what that level of engagement looks like, it also gives you the tools and proven methodologies to achieve it, measure it, track it, and maintain it. Drawing on the field expertise of three leading consultants and featuring eye-opening examples from their exceptional client rosters, the book serves as both an inspiration and a step-by-step guide to driving growth and profit through true involvement.

No matter how well they are planned, strategic initiatives large and small are doomed to fail if the people charged with executing them don’t believe in them. Creating and sustaining that sort of buy-in may seem like a tall order, but it’s imperative if you want to stay ahead of your competition. And it starts with leadership and management—it starts with you. The Power of Strategic Commitment lays out a blueprint for moving beyond the compliance that is the norm at all too many companies, toward that magical point where every initiative is not only accepted but supported—even embraced—by every employee at every level.

Advance Praise for The Power of Strategic Commitment:

“This book does far more than tell us what we should be doing – knowing that is often the easy part. The authors enable us as leaders – of organizations ranging in size from those aiming for millions in revenues to those seeking billions in profits – to discover the source of genuine, passionate ownership and commitment. As a staunch believer in the need for team alignment and engagement, I am excited to see a book that helps all of us understand the potential of that commitment, and demonstrates the power of leaders and teams who share that dedication.”

— Lynn Pike, President, Capital One Bank NA

“This book is a must read for those wanting to get their executive ranks rowing in the same direction toward common objectives. No matter where in the world your teams are located, or what industry you are in, alignment is more important now than ever.” — Finbarr Flood, former Managing Director, Guinness Dublin; Chairman, Irish Labour Court (Retired)

“The concepts in this book have been invaluable in building a culture of accountability and

no excuses within my global organization. Everyone wants and needs that to win; finally a proven way to achieve it!” — Roberto Gregori, Jr. , CEO, Bematech International

“As CEO, my greatest challenge is to engage and motivate people, as well as create ownership in the firm’s brand. Achieving buy-in and accountability is essential for this task. This must-read book provides the road map and unlocks the magic to making this happen!”

—Bruce Mosler, President and CEO, Cushman & Wakefield

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“…outstanding book shows readers how to improve strategic processes and execution… This is indeed one of the very best of the year!” -- CEO

Selected as on the best books of 2009 by CEO

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814413746
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 5/27/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,106,359
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Josh Leibner (Bridgewater, NJ) and Gershon Mader (Toronto, Canada) are founding partners of Quantum Performance, Inc., a management consulting firm with global clients including Capital One, Cisco Systems, Prudential Financial, Cushman & Wakefield and many others.

Alan Weiss (East Greenwich, RI) is a consultant, speaker, and author whose consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients including Hewlett-Packard, Merck, and hundreds of other top organizations.

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Read an Excerpt


Let’s be honest. Most initiatives to improve organizational performance do not deliver. Whether the aim is to become leaner, more productive, customer-intimate, or growth-oriented, the majority of organizational programs fail to accomplish their goals. Most of these efforts don’t cut costs, improve productivity, boost customer satisfaction, or raise revenue to the levels that the organization’s leaders expected or promised to the board and Wall Street. Some initiatives, in fact, fail outright because of lack of ownership and follow-through. All in all, the track record of corporate initiatives is a sorry one—one that only Dilbert creator Scott Adams could take joy in.

Most senior managers understand that no matter how clear and valid their strategy and objectives are, if people are not genuinely on the same page working with each other, rather than against or independent of each other, they will not achieve the success they want. But these same managers don’t know how to generate real commitment and alignment to their strategies. One clear indication is the lack of enthusiasm that most senior managers exhibit for the strategic planning process. As one executive put it, “Strategic planning—that’s when you go offsite as a team, agree on a bunch of priorities for the year, then go back to work and do what you were going to do anyway.”

From our combined consulting experience spanning eighty-plus years, 500 clients, and sixty countries, working with companies of all types and at all levels, we have found that the root cause for most failed or unfulfilled strategies is not any actual shortcomings in the strategies themselves. In fact, we have seen brilliant strategies fail in the worst way—despite being exactly what the company needed at the time, well researched and analyzed, and presented compellingly at all levels.

The Power of Strategic Commitment teaches how true ownership and commitment, and not merely compliance, is achieved throughout an organization, even when the environment is filled with the typical toxic organizational issues of distrust, politics, turfism, butt-covering, blame, and timidity. The book addresses the role, for example, of a “chief commitment officer,” ways to build commitment that cost nothing, and the fallacy of money as a motivator for behavior change. Strategic commitment issues in nonprofits, education, and government, as well as traditional for-profits, are all covered.

Using this book, you’ll be able to identify apathy, resignation, and cynicism, and then transform them into an environment of total alignment and commitment within your organization. The process starts by sharpening your antennae to spot compliance masquerading as commitment, and understanding the six key drivers that ensure organizational commitment, even under the most dire of circumstances. Numerous real-life examples are given from Global 1000 executives who have succeeded using these tools. All of the quotes used in the book come from direct interviews or interactions with clients, or recollections from the individuals cited. Actual names were used when possible, with fictionalized names used in some cases.

This book is a modest insurance policy to guarantee that the $400,000 spent on strategic planning is, indeed, well spent.

Please note: Beginning with In Search of Excellence almost 30 years ago (1982, HarperCollins), people have carped that companies used as examples have often fallen out of favor. That’s because Peters and Waterman at the time, just as we are today, were using contemporary examples of sound processes. But variables often interfere: changed leadership, mergers, poor decisions, poor discipline, etc. We can’t ensure that our examples will stay true to strategic commitment, but we can laud those that were doing so when we wrote this.

—Josh Leibner

Bridgewater, New Jersey

—Gershon Mader

Toronto, Ontario

—Alan Weiss

East Greenwich, Rhode Island

December 2008

Excerpted from THE POWER OF STRATEGIC COMMITMENT. Copyright © 2009 by Josh Leibner and Gershon Mader. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents




Chapter 1: Why Commitment TrumpsCompliance

Why Commitment Is More Important Than Ever

Chapter 2: What Is Strategic Commitment?

If It’s So Important, Why Don’t I Know About It?

Chapter 3: Working Back from the Future

How to Generate Strategic Commitment

Chapter 4: Pushing Through the Thermal Layer

How to Engage Middle Managers in Strategic


Chapter 5: Leading from the Front

“Follow me!” (Not, “I’ll Be There in a Minute .?.?.”)

Chapter 6: Taking a Stand—The Key to Strategic Commitment

Why the Aztecs Put a Stake in the Ground

Chapter 7: Building and Restoring Trust

Essential Competencies for Generating StrategicCommitment

Chapter 8: Return on Strategic Commitment

On Competitive Edge and Profit Margins

Chapter 9: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way—HR at the Crossroads

The Role of HR in Generating Strategic Commitment

Chapter 10: Strategic Commitment as Organizational Lifestyle

Integrating the Process into Organizational DNA

Chapter 11: The Diversity of Strategic Commitment

There Is No Such Thing as “But We’re Different”

Afterword: Strategic Commitment IsEssential in Volatile Economies

Appendix: Tips, Techniques, and Tools for Generating, Monitoring, and Addressing Setbacks Related to Strategic



About the Authors

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