Get my latest blog post direct to your inbox every week!


Jacky Sherman

Northampton & Milton Keynes' Referral Marketing Specialist

07970 638857


Commitment Is A Double Edged Sword

How to counter any sense of restriction ...



I was having a conversation with someone this week about a member of our network group who constantly lets us down after saying he would do something. We agreed that although we liked him, we would find it hard to refer him ...

If they act like a hero and offer you grand gestures, check they really can deliver!

If they act like a hero and offer you grand gestures, check they really can deliver!

copyright: prometeus / 123rf stock photo

He just didn't really commit. Would he act the same with our clients? This got me thinking about commitment generally and the level of commitment to other members of your network group.

"Joining a network membership group
is a commitment!"

You are not just paying for the fried eggs and bacon, you're paying to belong to a group that commits to helping each other. Different network groups emphasise this commitment to different degrees.

Most lockout groups (where you have exclusivity for your profession) are very explicit. BNI, for instance, expects members to make a contribution at every meeting and monitors both compliance and their results.

Guess what? More commitment equals better results. And guess what else? It is a major reason why some people choose not to belong to a group like this! They are not willing to make that commitment.

For many people, the reason for not being willing to commit can be seen in the dictionary definition of the word itself. It can be interpreted positively and negatively and how you choose to act will depend on which definition has the strongest pull for you.

So commitment is defined as "the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity". Some of the synonyms, values and actions associated with this are: dedication, devotion, allegiance, loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity, bond, adherence, attentiveness, promise, pledge, covenant, contract, pact, deal, undertaking, decision, resolution, resolve, guarantee, assurance, and affirmation.

All are great words and aspirations and it is easy to see how demonstrating these to other members in your networking group would give someone the confidence to refer you.

"So why wouldn't you commit?"

Well commitment is also defined as "an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action". Some of the associated words to this meaning sit a little less comfortably with many people when thinking about the other business people they meet over the Muesli and yoghurt.

In an extreme case, the term could be used when someone is imprisoned under the Mental Health Act. In a more mainstream sense, think of words and values like responsibility, obligation, duty, tie, charge, liability, burden, pressure or reliance.

If you have committed to do something for yourself or someone else, then the pressure is on to deliver - even when you would rather be doing something else.

Networking does require a level of commitment to the success of others. There can be great rewards. Intrinsically, you will feel good and meet many of those personal values that matter to you. Equally, it will increase your business success because if you commit to helping others they will help you in return.

To counter the sense of restriction, the answer is to take the pressure off yourself by not shouldering the whole responsibility. Within any network group there are many people able to help each other and your commitment is purely to contribute what you can. Some people you will find it easier to help than others simply because of your skills and talents and the other people you know.

In any relationship commitment is more likely to develop as the result of constancy and paying attention to the small details than the sporadic big gesture.

My tip this week is to build commitment to your fellow networkers in incremental steps. Choose people you will find it easy to help, then start with something small you can do for the other person. For example, arrange to meet and then turn up. Ask for something small in return. Maybe that they turn up too!

End each interaction with a clear agreement of what you will do for each other next. Only commit to what you know you are willing and able to deliver.

Allow yourself and the other person to say "Sorry, I can't help with that right now!" Apply the adage you probably apply to your customers and 'under promise and over deliver'. If they offer the grand gesture then check that they really can deliver and be prepared to let them off the hook gently. They may not have read this and be carried along with their own enthusiasm to help you.

"Follow this, then neither of you feels the commitment is a burden and neither of you will feel let down!"

Do you feel that you'd like to know more? Call me on 07970 638857 or click here to send me an email and I'll be in touch.

Until next time ...


Leave a comment ...

Share the blog love ...

Précis (0)

Share this to FacebookShare this to TwitterShare this to LinkedInShare this to PinterestShare this via Buffer

More about Jacky Sherman ...

I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.

What I love most about my work is when my clients get those a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.

Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.

So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.

In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.

What a fantastic way to earn a living!


07970 638857