Commitment-based Management™ (CbM) starts with the premise that a successful organisation is driven by the quality and fulfilment of the network of commitments made among people in that organisation and to their customers.
Developed initially by Dr. Fernando Flores following extensive research in association with Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, VISION has extended the research and development with The Kellogg School of Management, London School of Business, MIT, and client engagements. Commitment-based Management™ is a distinctive methodology for producing high and sustainable levels of business performance.
More on the early essays by Fernando Flores can be found here: http://www.conversationsforaction.com
CbM is used by numerous Global 1,000, mid-sized and small life sciences or high-tech companies. We believe that organisations succeed when customer or colleague requests are met by clear commitments and promises by internal team members and contractors to deliver on those requests. The challenge of great customer satisfaction and high performance is to ensure that the requests and promises are explicit and that the fulfilment is rigorous.
VISION uses its Conversation for Action framework (see the diagram below) to design good commitments rigorously and to diagnose what has gone wrong with weak commitments. The Conversation for Action has four quadrants starting out with a clear request, moves through mandatory negotiation which classically ends with a promise, then a phase of fulfilling the request and reporting surprises, and finally feedback in the form of declarations of satisfaction or dissatisfaction and expressions of gratitude or disappointment.
What does VISION's CbM approach change?
- Commitment-based designers consistently align the commitments within an organisation with the promises the organisation makes to its customers
- These Designers develop new organisational practices for keeping and monitoring commitments and ensure that these practices constantly challenge all stakeholders to keep the promises made to each other and to the customers
- Managers and employees undergo personal transformations as they understand the power and importance of meeting their promises. CbM helps to create an entrepreneurial culture where individuals take more responsibility for the promises they make to each other and to their customers. They then organise themselves and others to deliver on the promises.
Overall, CbM creates a culture where all stakeholders embody the corporate mission while accepting individual accountability for extraordinary results. Where clear promises have been publicly made, there is no hiding from the responsibility for delivering on them.
VISION regularly meets organisations where people believe that they already manage commitments to each other and to their customers. Over the last 20 years, as CbM practitioners, we’ve found that few of the organisations we’ve met create such a culture around commitments and promises that delivers individual accountability to build real trust and coordination throughout the organisation.
The Conversation for Action
The Conversation for Action has four quadrants starting out with a clear request, moves through mandatory negotiation which classically ends with a promise, then a phase of fulfilling the request and reporting surprises, and finally feedback in the form of declarations of satisfaction or dissatisfaction and expressions of gratitude or disappointment.
The diagram opposite shows the whole range of moves – for example ‘decline’, ‘revoke’ – that are catered for by the framework. Because of the shape of the diagram, we often call the Conversation for Action the ‘loop‘.