Friday, May 29, 2009

Keeping Agreements

Many wonderful, creative, well-meaning, smart, gentle, heartfelt and fun people are lousy at keeping agreements. Working in the world, agreements are essential and frequent. To avoid frustration and disappointment, skillfully work with agreeing and agreements.

  • Know what you want.
  • Be clear about mutual expectations (including scheduling and budgeting).
  • Realistically assess the likelihood of the agreement being completed successfully.
  • Formalize the agreement within 24 hours by reiterating, and changing if needed.
  • Communicate during the process, reworking or canceling the agreement if necessary.
  • Remain unattached to the results.
  • Assess the process and the results as they might illumine future agreements.
    (Not every step is needed in all circumstances.)

Check yourself; recognize the other person’s point of view, ability and level of commitment; and respond accordingly.

What of good people who are lousy at keeping agreements? Might as well acknowledge and enjoy their free spirited approach to the future, and make agreements with them lightly, or not at all.