“Hey Leader, What’s in your Wallet?”: What is on your Commitment card?

What is on your Commitment card?


One wonderful summer day, I was out and about with my five year old son when he decided he was hungry. We decided on a local restaurant and settled down for a meal. As customary , we were greeted ,seated, and then greeted by our server. Our server greeted us with a smile , introduced herself , asked for our drink order and then left to fill the order. However, before she left she place a small business card on our table. I thought the card was a coupon on something to do with the menu. However, when I picked it up, my mind was blown. On the card in print were four commitments that the server was making to me, the customer.  Not only were the commitments printed but simply and clearly defined:


Reliable- I am dependable and you can count on me

Responsive-I act quickly to respond to your needs

Knowledgeable- I can explain and recommend menu items

100%- Is what I will give you to ensure  your *Restaurant’s name* experience  is pleasurable

And at the end of the commitments was this phrase “ If for some reason, I did not meet my commitment to you, please let me know.”

This was different and I was impressed. Immediately I thought what if school leaders or teachers did this? How powerful it would be if as you hand out your business card to parents, students and stakeholders that they not only received your contact information but your leadership commitments and guarantees.

As an educational leader, you must be committed …accepting the position is not enough.  You must commit to the work, to the mission, to the students, the staff and the community. This is educational leadership 101. It is basic. Every leader and aspiring leader should know this.  However, as the leader, can you  and do you actually define and put into words your core commitments?

 Just as in the example above, can your commitments be summarized and clearly stated. What can teachers, students, and your community expect from you every time you step in your building. What can they expect every time they engage with you and communicate with you? What are your leadership guarantees? As a leader, you are a brand just like Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds or Chick fila. When you walk into the door of any franchise or store with a brand, you know what to expect. How do you define your leadership brand and leadership experience? What can the people who follow you or engage with you expect?

Commitments hold you accountable and to a higher standard. They are completely essential to the work that we do as leaders. They serve as part of our compass which guides our actions, decisions, and directions.  However, how often do we say them aloud or put them out in world for others to see? Is it because we are afraid that once we say them or publicize them, others may hold us accountable for them? Accountability is a part of leadership.  Holding yourself accountable and allowing others to hold you accountable can boost your leadership into the next level. It also allows you to clarify and narrow your focus because you cannot do everything but there are some things that you can do very well. As a leader you just must ask yourself, “What is most important to me and what do I want to be my brand of leadership? “

When you give someone your business card, you give them your job location, phone number and ways to reach you. Why not give them what matters the most about you?

I think I am ordering new business cards.


As a leader:

What are your Leadership commitments?

 What do you guarantee to those you serve?

What can people expect from you every situation, every day, & every time?

Do your leadership commitments extend to your students as well?


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