In recent months I’ve taken it upon myself to improve my level of commitment to Australian rules football. Given the AFL’s roots in Melbourne I felt it was very ‘un-Victorian’ of me not to follow a team with pride and passion. To enable my mission I decided it was time to change teams. When I started school in Australia, after emigrating from South Africa at age 10, my friends demanded I choose a team. Not only did I need to tell them who I intended to follow I also needed to swear life long allegiance to them. In the heat of the moment I went with the safety of choosing the same team as my brother Ronan – Carlton Blues. For the next 30 years I was completely disinterested – apologies to devoted Blues fans, but to put it bluntly I just didn’t care.
When choosing a new team my mind immediately went to Richmond Tigers – the team Kevin my husband follows. I realised there is a dose of ‘care factor’ toward Richmond in me; for example I’ve spent the last 21 years hoping they will win so I don’t have to listen to Kev complaining about them if they lose. Considering also my favourite animal is the tiger and Ryan Gately’s head office is in Richmond it suddenly seemed logical that I should be supporting the Tigers. So I officially announced on Facebook that I am a Richmond supporter and stepped fully into the role.
The fascinating thing about this story is the extent to which I have found myself actually caring. For example while on a flight to Brisbane my attention was drawn to an article about Richmond someone else was reading; I was amused to realise my interest in knowing what it was about. I even leaned a little closer to see if I could capture any words that would give me a clue. When Richmond lost by 1 point to Fremantle a few weeks back I found myself screaming at the television and hiding my face in my hands while my heart raced with anticipation of the final siren.
Where precisely this newfound connection with Richmond Tigers has come from I don’t know. What the experience has made me reflect on however is the extent to which we have the power to choose to commit. My ability to simply choose to ‘get into footy’ and eagerly support Richmond is no different to the ability we all have to choose to fully commit to the jobs we sign up for. Our ability to hold ourselves accountable to honouring our commitments is invaluable. Not only to our own success but also the success of the teams we are apart of.
Few people will commit to a role or even business indefinitely; things change, people have their wants, needs and ambitions that lead them elsewhere. While most people will ultimately move on to new and different opportunities over time, what matters is that while they choose to stay in their role they fully commit. In other words, for as long as they choose to stay in their role it is reasonable to expect people to bring the full strength of both their capabilities and spirit to achieving their objectives. It is reasonable to expect people to hold themselves accountable to high standards of performance.
Much like my decision to support Richmond, for someone to have any hope of maintaining the standard of their contribution they need reason to care. When hiring new people into your team look for the connection between their ambitions and the job you have on offer. Make sure they are likely to be motivated to work in and achieve the objectives of the role for a reasonable period of time before you choose to commit to them. Reflect on the extent to which you are committed to your own role. How much of your full potential are you choosing to bring to driving the outcomes entrusted to you? Do you have enough reason to support your team with passion and pride?