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Improve Your Work and Life by Creating Clear Agreements

Season 1, Episode 59

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caneel executive coach

I'm a social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.

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

Have items on your to-do list that have been there for a very long time? 

Not doing what you said you would do or intended to do? 

Ignoring or delaying your to-dos? 

Still dreaming of completing your goal but not actually acting on it?

You are out of integrity. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us.

Many agreements you make are designed to fall out of integrity right away.  This happens with goals, resolutions, and agreements with others and yourself.  

Luckily there’s a simple way to get you back on track: making clear agreements.

When your agreements are outlined clearly and you use Whole Body Yes as your guide, you set yourself up for a greater chance of staying in integrity and keeping those agreements. 

If you are a leader, a manager of people, if you drive projects forward of any kind or you are in coordination with anybody at all, including in your own home about how to get something done, you can instantly put this concept to good use. 

This is one of the highest leverage management tools there is.  

Clear agreements will propel you into action, so you can allow yourself to stop thinking through all the steps and you can get into the real world and move things forward. 

How to Create Clear Agreements- 3 Step Guide 

Step 1: Define the What

Make sure that “what” – your objective, project, goal – is clearly defined. 

And here is how you can tell if it’s clear.  

A clear “what” in your agreement means that anybody who knows what that “what” is, would know, without a shadow of a doubt, if it had been completed or not. 

It’s an objective, unarguable fact-based “what.”

Step 2: Determine Who is Responsible 

The second element to establishing a Clear Agreement is determining who is going to do what

It sounds simple, but this is one where I often see agreements become vague right at the onset. 

Many projects, decisions, and agreements flourish through the art of collaboration. Clarity on who is accountable, especially when you’re working with a team, is an intrinsic element to creating clear agreements.

One of the most common pain points I hear from you is that you’ve been in a meeting or a conversation and the whole time are psyched over an idea, goal, or project. You leave the meeting thinking “Let’s do this. Let’s go and make this goal happen.” But by the time you get back to your desk you realize you don’t know what you or anyone else is responsible for.  

Make sure it’s extremely clear who the person accountable for the agreement is. The person accountable (and it might be you) means that they are in charge of reporting back if it is fulfilled or not. And they’re ultimately the ones who are accountable for its completion, even if they’re not responsible for executing and they’re going to delegate tasks. 

Step 3: Coordinate When

Making sure your “what” and “who” coordinate with a “when” is fundamental to creating a clear agreement. 

Let’s reframe the “when” of our agreements. It’s not a deadline, it’s a lifeline. It’s life-giving. Establishing a time frame for completion sets us into action and facilitates our agreements. 

And a lifeline doesn’t have to be date and time-specific. A lifeline could be defined in any way that satisfies the request. It could be October 17th by 3 pm or could be “by the time we’ve done this other task”. 

The “when” of our clear agreement doesn’t have to be super specific so long as it is understood by the agreement’s facilitators and propels engagement into motion. 

The Power of Clear Agreements

The ability to make all of your agreements clear is one of the highest leverage management tools there is. Whether you’re a young manager or a CEO, this is the tool I advocate for you to learn as fast as possible because this enables you to move from intention to action and results.

Missteps in execution seem like they happen while you’re busy executing. But many preventable missteps happen before the execution even begins because of a lack of clarity. 

You can take care of so many of the creative kinks when executing on a huge variety of projects and goals by establishing:

  • What exactly is going to happen
  • Who is going to do it
  • When it’s going to happen
  • How you’ll know it was completed

Creating Clear Agreements allows your team to have conscious and drama-free conversations about the status of a project, and not feel compelled to waste time with drama-based conversations that anxiety about the unclear foundation of said project.


About this episode:

Most agreements are designed to fall out of integrity right away. End the friction of confusion and complication by fine-tuning how you make your agreements. You empower yourself and your team to work with integrity, by having concrete, literal, and clearly-defined plans from the onset, rather than vague suggestions.  

Today, we’re going to talk about how to create high-integrity agreements using a 3-prong framework. This practice can be applied at ANY time. Whether you’re making new goals or following up on a project, there is always the opportunity to improve your life and work by leading with integrity.  

What is Integrity?

Creating Clear Agreements 

Whole Body Yes

Getting Back into Integrity with Clear Agreements

The Change Formula

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