Involved versus Committed

pig and chicken

The classic comment about the difference between involvement and commitment is regarding the role of the Pig and the Chicken in the Egg and Bacon Breakfast.

The Chicken is involved, whereas the Pig is fully committed.

If we want to be successful then we need people to be committed rather than just involved.

Involvement is nice but it doesn’t have the same accountability for success as commitment does.

To create commitment, we need have some skin in the game, the goal has to have some real importance for us.

A great friend of mine, Doug Fain, told me the insightful story on benefits of commitment versus involvement in the US Paratrooper division.

They a had group of people who used to fold the parachute, and as you can imagine this is a pretty important role, if the parachute doesn’t open properly, then this can be a life threatening consequences.

In order to monitor quality, they used to measure the number of parachutes which failed to open. At the start of the measurement 4 out of every 1000 parachute failed to open.

This was a statistic which was well below what they were looking for, so they looked to offer improved training and other schemes and over the months the stats improved from 4 to just 1 in 1000 that failures to open.

This was still felt to be an unacceptably low level. At this time a new General came in,  and he was not happy with the results.

However, he knew the difference between involvement and commitment, so he introduced a new rule, that for every 1000 parachutes the people folded they had to make 1 parachute jump.

This now moved the packers from just involved to committed. They too would now be subjected to the failure rate of 1 in 1000.

Within a matter of weeks the failure rate improved by a factor of 10. Yep thats right they went from 1 in 1000 parachutes failing to open to 1 in 10,000.

This was the impact of being involved versus committed.

As leaders if we can move people from involved to committed then we too can have similarly spectacular results.

Gordon Tredgold

 Leadership Principles