Vince Lombardi had definitive ideas about commitment when he wrote:
“Total commitment means 100% effort, 100% of the time, no loafing, no idling, no standing around, no goofing off, no phoning in sick.”
“When we make a commitment, in essence, we’re making a decision to do something. Now, the Latin root for decision is to “cut away from” as an incision during surgery. So when we commit to something, what we’re really doing is “cutting away” all our other options, all our other possibilities. When we commit to something, we cut away all the excuses, all the rationalizations.”
Al McGuire said it differently when he said, “excuses are weaknesses.”
When I read “100% effort, 100% of the time,” I initially thought no one can do that. However, after some reflection I changed my mind. I had the privilege of coaching some players who achieved this goal and they achieved it both physically and mentally.
The outstanding athletes I coached were the same every day. There were no excuses, no rationalizations. When they tied up their shoes and crossed the line to enter the court for practice, they gave their extraordinary effort every day.
The same was true in education. In my book, Attitude – The Cornerstone of Leadership, I wrote about three such leaders, Bishop Roger Kaffer, Dr. Jack Orr, and Gordie Gillespie. They, too, were the same every day. When they entered their respective offices for work, they brought the same total effort daily. I don’t ever remember hearing any excuses from them.
I believe this all-out effort becomes a habit, just like loafing and excuse-making become habitual with some people.
Finally, this consistency of effort by the leader may not be able to be taught, but it can be caught. When the leader gives 100% effort, 100% of the time, that philosophy can permeate throughout the organization.
It is precisely this effort that earns players All-State and All-American recognition and gives leaders the most important concept they can earn – RESPECT.