Published here August 2003. 

Introduction | The Success Principle | The Commitment Principle 
The Tetrad-Tradeoff Principle | The Strategy Principle | The Management Principle
The Single-Point Responsibility Principle | The Cultural Environment Principle | Conclusion

The Commitment Principle

What happens when someone is no longer committed to the team or to winning? It happens in sports. Team goals can become secondary to personal goals. Personal problems can take the focus and the edge off winning. Personnel conflicts arise between players or between players and management. Good examples of this exist in the National Hockey League (NHL).

The Eric Lindros saga is one of them. Throughout his career and going back to junior hockey, Eric Lindros and his family have often been involved in disputes with team management.[3] One dispute resulted in Lindros not playing in the NHL for the complete 2001-2002 season.[4] Another way that the lack of commitment to winning is shown is through management not providing the right players, the proper equipment, or the needed tactical direction. The result from insufficient commitment, from either the player or from management, is that goal realization is jeopardized, even with the most talented teams.

That result is no different with project teams. Project teams, including the sponsor who represents the owners, must agree on the success criteria. The working team must have the knowledge, skill and ability to achieve the goals. They must be enthusiastic about the project and the work involved. They must be provided with the resources essential to reaching the goal. Conflict may arise between team members or between team members and key stakeholders. While there are many viewpoints on conflict in projects, discouraging destructive conflict facilitates goal realization.[5][6]

At the same time, the sponsor must be knowledgeable, skilled and able to do his or her job. The sponsor must provide the resources and ensure the team has what it takes to be successful. When the sponsor and the team set mutual goals related to scope, time, cost and quality and in turn commit to realizing them, the project is well on its way to achieving those goals. In the absence of commitment, failure looms.

The Success Principle  The Success Principle

3. Eric Lindros Chronology, The Canadian Press, 21 February 2001, Retrieved 17 January 2003, from
4. Flyers' Clarke rehashes Lindros feud, wire reports, The Associated Press News Service, 14 November 2001, Retrieved 17 January 2003, from
5. Adapted from Stephen P. Robbins, 1974, Managing Organizational Conflict: A Nontraditional Approach, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, pp. 11-25; and Stephen P. Robbins, 1979, Organizational Behavior, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, p. 289; and Stephen P. Robbins and Stuart-Kotze, 1986, Management: Concepts and Practices, Canadian Edition, Toronto, ON: Prentice-Hall Canada Inc., p. 483.
6. M. Afzalar Rahim. 1985. A Strategy for Managing Conflict in Complex Organizations. Human Relations 38: pp. 81-89.
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