I began reading an article this evening entitled "Harnessing the Science of Persuasion".  The article essentially lays out principles managers can use to win friends and influence people.

One of the principles is consistency and in the article the author suggest a good way to gain consitency on your employees commitments is to announce the commitment in public.  Here is an excerpt:

"Recognizing the power of desire, you should, once you've successfully convinced [the employee] of the need to be more timely, reinforce the commitment by making sure it gets a public airing.  One way to do this is to send an e-mail that reads, "I think your plan is just what we need.  I showed it to Diane in manufacturing and Phil in shipping, and they thought it was right on target too."

When wearing my critical thinking hat, I question on well this would work and the kind of message you are truly sending to the employee.  I wanted to share this with the forum to get your thoughts and feedback!  Thanks!

Works Great

I think it works well, and there's a lot of that in MT.   Look at the feedback model for example - you get a public commitment at the end of it.

Getting people to commit in front of their peers is very powerful for regulating behaviour.   Nobody wants to explain poor performance to their peers - and peers often become the ones who will help the person behave the way they said they would.   Peer pressure worked in high school and it works as adults if used ethically and appropriately.

As to the "message" it sends - I don't think there's any negatives taking agreed commitments public.  (Assuming there are no commercial or political sensitivities)   If the person agreed to it, why would they change their position just because others know about it?    If my work impacts other divisions, I'd expect my boss to be talking about it.

 

 

 

 

 

His Commitment, Not Yours

I am a fan of public commitments. At a previous employer, we used to say: "do what you say and say what you do".

However, make sure you are talking about HIS commitments, not YOURS. For me, the key couple of words in your quoted sentence is that the manager says "your plan" (words three and four of the quote). It has to be the employee who comes up with the commitment.

Putting people on the spot, even when done humourously (like, "I am volunteering you now") can backfire seriously. I've seen people heavily irritated, more so in Germany, where I work now and where people seem generally more hesitant to accept additional responsibility, but also in the U.S., where I worked temporarily and where not everyone appreciated being "openly committed". There's always a sense of being on defense involved.

However, given the pre-text that I read into your quote, -- i.e. the manager said a plan was needed, the employee agreed and provided the plan, then the manager "made it public" -- I'd be totally fine.

Best
Jochen