Use Impeccable Agreements for Better Productivity and Morale

Impeccable agreements create accountability and motivation. This improves productivity and morale for high-performing teams.

The concept is simple. Precisely define an agreement (goal, task, etc.) such that an objective third party could judge if the follow-through was successful (write it down). Everyone involved fully agrees to it. If the agreement needs to be altered, tell the other members of the agreement as soon as you realize it and tell them what can be done. Successfully meeting an agreement only happens if it’s completed or promptly communicated that it needs to be altered.

Precisely defining agreements leaves no room for interpretation about what is expected. It should be written down and include a date. Like any goal, it should be actionable, specific, and time-bound.

Fully agreed agreements create buy-in from those involved. If it’s not fully agreed to, it’s because it’s not precisely defined or folks aren’t bought in. You should only agree to things that you have full commitment to completing.

Finally, promptly informing others in the agreement if you realize it needs to be altered builds trust and allows for adjustment. Polling for status updates and trying to externally motivate someone to complete a task becomes irrelevant everyone follows this covenant. Other members of the agreement can adjust their work or priorities with this new information so it doesn’t impact their productivity.

Building a place of work where people do what they say and renegotiate if it’s not possible creates a virtuous cycle of productivity and morale.

From The Great CEO Within.

See also:

  • If you struggle to set goals for yourself, try the 85% rule
  • Impeccable agreements are a kind of a performance management loop that happens continuously—it should be fairly obvious when someone isn’t keeping their agreements consistently
  • Delegation Not Abdication

    A common mistake for early managers is to delegate work ineffectively. They try to do what they think their direct reports would want—assign a task and be completely hands-off. It’s the right instinct but seldom yields the right results. Problems occur when mistaking abdication for delegation.