Re: Intro -- Tim J. Sullivan LO193

Michael McMaster (
Tue, 21 Feb 1995 20:16:59 GMT

Replying to LO133 --

This issue of commitment is important to our way forward. The term is
used almost exclusively as an assessment and its one of the big "phantoms"
that is said to be the source of success or failure. I suggest that its
_only_ a term of assessment and is merely a description of internal states
based on interpretation of feelings (internal) or behaviours (external).
It is far too frequently used as the explanation of failure which leaves
us with little but exhortation to try and get some. I don't think
referring to "energetic" or "being" solves the problem. I do agree that
considering commitment "mental or a mental decision" misses the point.

Commitment can be powerfully related to as a speach act. That is, a
declaration of commitment is an important public statement if we consider
that it expresses "giving one's word as one's honour". There is nothing
at all magical or elusive about this.

I suggest we could use a much more pragmatic point of view in our
conversations regarding organisational learning and the effectiveness of
our actions and usefulness of our results. Why look for what might be but
is forever hidden when we haven't dealt effectively with what is visible
and within our powers of effective communication?

A last thought about commitment. Whatever internal states or external
manifestations that it is referring to - and I think these are wonderous
to behold when present - the source of it is much less individual and much
more social, environmental, dialogue-generated than our reductionist
social theories and psychological theories recognise.

Mike McMaster <>

> Commitment isn't mental, a mental decision. It's often approached as
> mental, a mental decision, but i submit that's the illusion of commitment,
> and often falls apart, giving the "committer" a loss and everyone else a
> betrayal. Commitment is energetic, it has to do with being, the substance
> underlying a situation, who we are, what we're about, energy levels. As
> such it's deeper than common dialogue, although dialogue can address it,
> can touch on it. Commitment seems "magical" and elusive because it deals
> with the energetic dimensions we don't commonly talk about.
> - C.B. Willis
> 1250 Oakmead Pkwy, Ste 210, Sunnyvale CA
> 408-734-9110
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> | | "Values are the infrastructure |
> | | upon which civilization |
> | | will be reinvented." - CBW |
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Michael McMaster