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How to Tackle the To-Do List: The Connection Between Clear Agreements and Integrity

clear agreements


Have you ever had items on your to-do list that seem to linger for a prolonged period?

Do you find yourself not following through on what you said you would do or delaying important tasks?

Perhaps you have grand aspirations and goals but struggle to take actual steps towards achieving them.

If any of this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing a lack of integrity. The good news is that this is a common issue faced by many individuals, and there is a simple solution: making clear agreements.

Clear agreements play a crucial role in helping you stay on track and maintain integrity. Whether these agreements pertain to your personal goals, resolutions, or commitments with others, having clarity in your agreements increases the likelihood of keeping them. One effective approach to ensuring clear agreements is by using the principle of “Whole Body Yes.”

This concept of clear agreements and Whole Body Yes is not limited to any particular role or setting. Whether you are a leader, a project manager, or someone coordinating tasks at home, you can immediately implement this idea for positive outcomes. In fact, it is considered one of the most powerful management tools available.

By establishing clear agreements, you set yourself up for action. Instead of constantly contemplating the steps involved, clear agreements propel you into the real world, allowing you to make progress.

Here’s a practical three-step guide on how to create clear agreements:

Step 1: Define the What

Start by clearly defining the objective, project, or goal you want to accomplish. A clear “what” means that anyone familiar with it would know, without any doubt, whether it has been completed or not. It should be an objective, fact-based statement that leaves no room for interpretation.

Step 2: Determine Who is Responsible

The second element of establishing a clear agreement is determining who will be responsible for each task. While this may seem straightforward, it is a common area where agreements become vague. When working with a team or collaborating with others, it is crucial to clarify who is accountable for each aspect of the agreement. This prevents confusion and ensures that everyone understands their role. The person accountable is the one responsible for reporting back on the fulfillment of the agreement, even if they delegate tasks to others.

Step 3: Coordinate When

Coordinating a timeline or deadline for completion is essential in creating a clear agreement. Instead of viewing the timeline as a strict deadline, reframe it as a lifeline—a life-giving element that fosters action and facilitates the agreement. The “when” can be defined in various ways, as long as it satisfies the requirements of the agreement. It could be a specific date and time or a condition like “by the time we’ve completed another task.” The key is to ensure that the agreed-upon timeline is understood by all parties involved and ignites engagement.

The Power of Clear Agreements

Mastering the art of clear agreements is a highly impactful management tool. Whether you are a new manager or a seasoned CEO, this skill is essential for moving from intention to action and achieving tangible results. Many preventable missteps in execution occur due to a lack of clarity before even embarking on the task at hand. By establishing clear agreements, you can address potential challenges and uncertainties early on.

Clear agreements provide a solid foundation for executing a wide range of projects and goals. By knowing exactly what needs to happen, who is responsible, when it will occur, and how completion will be determined, you can streamline your efforts and overcome obstacles more effectively. This approach enables your team to engage in conscious, drama-free conversations about project status, eliminating time wasted on anxiety-driven discussions caused by unclear foundations.

In conclusion, if you find yourself struggling to tackle your to-do list or failing to follow through on your commitments, it may be time to examine the clarity of your agreements. By implementing the three-step process of defining the what, determining responsibility, and coordinating the when, you can establish clear agreements that propel you towards action and integrity. Clear agreements are a powerful tool that can transform your approach to tasks, projects, and goals, enabling you and your team to achieve greater success.

This article is related to my podcast episode on Clear Agreements – Listen here. 

Photography by Kelley Raye //

Dr. Caneel Joyce is a CEO Coach and social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.

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