I work in a place where sitting on the fence is not encouraged. There are no seats on the fence. Not a comfy bean bag or a couch. Not even one of those non-ergonomic dining chairs that is now your work chair, since you started working from home. In fact, the fence is entirely uncomfortable for sitting. We don’t “um, ah” about decisions. We lean in and say “yes”.
But commitment is more than just saying “yes”. Commitment is about following through. Commitment is about keeping promises, taking ownership, and delivering. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.” When we say we will do something, you can be sure we will do it.
Commitment is part of EMM’s DNA. Take, for example, our CEO Luke Stewart. Some time ago BC (before-COVID), Luke made a commitment to swim the English Channel in 2020 to raise funds for premature babies. Given the global pandemic sized disruption this year, I’m sure many people might have presumed he would bail on this epic commitment, and understandably so. But, no. That is just not what an EMMer does. We follow through. So, for the last 5 months, despite all the distractions related to leading a business through an extremely uncertain economy, and not to mention closures of swimming pools and many other roadblocks, he’s continued on the path to transform his promise into a reality. Luke will be swimming the channel next month.
This is the same flavour of commitment you’ll find EMM gives our clients. It is inspiring to work with a bunch of people who, no matter what, you know you can rely on. Commitment is a choice, and we lean into that decision.
But commitment is more than just saying “yes”. Commitment is also sometimes saying “no”. When you say yes to something, it often means you are saying no to something else.
As a consultant, saying “no” is frequently one of the biggest challenges we have. We want to do our best all the time. We want to give our clients the best product, the best advice, the glossiest pitch. But we also want to be great mums, dads, friends, partners, children, community members, soccer players, marathon runners, master chefs etc. Really, we want to be the best “me” that we can each be. And sometimes, that requires saying no to one aspect of your life, so that you can create space to say yes somewhere else.
As a new mum who has returned to work this year, this is something I am so very conscious of. I used to be a consultant who said yes to everything – “reliable” was my brand. If I couldn’t get the task done in work hours, it didn’t matter, I’d just stay up later that night or work on the weekend. But with a clingy, demanding (and wonderful) toddler, I’ve learned that that is impossible. I am so grateful to work with leaders who encourage me to say “no” sometimes, to prioritise my commitment to my family and, even more importantly, to myself. It is not always easy to do (and yes, I still do work late sometimes when the little energizer bunny is sleeping) but I’m getting better at saying “no”. And I’m grateful to work in an environment where I am empowered to also encourage those in my team to do the same.
So, yes, at EMM we don’t sit on fences. We commit to our decisions. Sometimes that means saying “yes” and sometimes that means saying “no”.
By Nicola Fry,
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