Have you ever heard someone say…

“As per Compliance vs. Commitment our members say they want one thing and then do another.”

“We can’t make important decisions because meetings keep getting postponed.”

“We need to change, but the leadership isn’t listening.”

“No one is acknowledging our feedback.”

“That is a whole different department that handles that.”


According to Peter Senge’s book The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization there are 3 levels of involvement in any organization.  These include commitment, enrolled, and compliant.  Let me define each one, uncover levels of participation and give you some action items to follow up on.


“We do this because it’s our job” attitude is very common in most organizations.  There really is no incentive to do go the extra mile or create more work to achieve higher levels of performance.  As long as the job is complete, the compliant individual feel satisfied even though more opportunity exists.

Signs you are working with someone who is compliant:

  1. Objectives are not completed entirely to satisfaction.
  2. Attendance for meetings but participation is limited.
  3. Meetings keep getting postponed for higher perceived priorities.
  4. Input is acknowledged but nothing happens.

Action items:

  1. Have a heart to heart conversation.  Don’t assume or blame someone for not following through or being more involved.  There might be a bigger story that you don’t know about.
  2. Ask the person why they are involved in the first place.  Is their participation purely to satisfy someone’s request, to be recognized, or do they have a do whatever it takes attitude?
  3. Find a replacement with someone who is enrolled or more commitment to future success.


These individuals actively come to the organization because they are aligned with the purpose, see value in their participation, and expect progress to be made.  They feel they have valuable contributions to make based on their experience, insight, and intuition.

Signs you are working with someone enrolled:

  1. They come to you, you don’t come to them.
  2. They proactively sign up for a position, send their resume, and say “Hey, I want to be involved, how can I help?”
  3. They actively contribute in meetings, ask questions, and interject opinions.

Actions items:

  1. Determine whether enrolled individual has the capacity to be committed in the future.
  2. Invest time and energy into grooming them into potential leaders.
  3. Track their participation over time to ensure they are actively participating rather than being “one and done.”


A committed individual is someone who is not just enrolled or has a do whatever it takes attitude but they are willing to change or bend the rules in order to reach the objective.  Committed participants actively spend time understanding the key objectives, know the rules for participation, and are willing to put themselves on the line in order to reach the goal.

Signs you are working with someone committed:

  1. They show up for everything on time, take notes, and know their role.
  2. They make active contributions rather than being reactive.
  3. They challenge opinions based on their expertise and skill sets.
  4. They are willing to break the rules after they have learned them.

Action items:

  1. Ensure participation is aligned with strategic objectives in the long term.
  2. Promote committed participants into roles with larger responsibilities.
  3. Ensure commitment to leads to quantifiable results from their participation, not just involvement as an activity.

Final note

The challenge for anyone in a leadership person is to identify who on their team is truly committed or enrolled to accomplishing the organization’s objectives rather than just giving lip service to make people happy.  These participation types exist all the way from the CEO to the volunteer member/customer.  Once  you determine the level of participation then it is up to you to make choose the right steps (from what we have listed).


Organizations bring in Doug Devitre when they want to dramatically improve marketing, productivity, and sales performance with the latest technology. He is changing the way consultants consult, coaches coach, and trainers train professionals with his creative approach to using technology focused on business outcomes. The University of Missouri-Columbia Business School Entrepreneur of the Year, National Association of Realtors Business Specialties Hall of Fame Educator, and Certified Speaking Professional of the National Speakers Association brings a power-packed, innovative punch to managing organizational change outlined in his latest book Screen to Screen Selling™ : How to Increase Sales, Productivity, and the Customer Experience With the Latest Technology. Now Doug is focused on creating thought leadership on how businesses can use the Amazon Alexa platform to reduce operational costs and improve workplace productivity.

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