Keeping Agreements – Why Should You?

On October 24, I wrote my first blog post on keeping agreements. ( I promised you a series. It may be implied that I promised to start writing that series right away and I did not. The homework was,

“…find out where you are. Try this. From now until our blog next week, keep track of all agreements. Make a simple sheet and label columns – Agreement Made, To Whom, Kept, Not Kept. Just observe. Be neutral. Be nice to yourself. Be very very curious.”

I would put this promise to write weekly on this topic in the “not kept” column, because I believed it was a promise and that is all that matters. Notice a few things: (1) I can state this neutrally. It is just information about my behaviors. If I was to get angry with myself about it, that would not help me change anything. (2) I am using the word “promise” when I talk about agreements. This tends to be an emotionally charged word. I use it intentionally. An agreement is a promise. It carries weight. It is important to know this. Below I will talk about why that is. I said in my last post on this topic that no one keeps all their agreements. This is true. While you will set yourself apart, and get much more of what you want in your business (and other parts of your life) if you keep your agreements, you also will benefit by deciding how to handle breaking your agreements in a way that maintains trust with others.

And so, step one, let’s talk about the prices we pay for breaking agreements. (Don’t panic if you do not consider yourself to be good at keeping your agreements. We will cover this.) Stephen M.R. Covey (son of the late Stephen Covey, who wrote, among other things, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) wrote a great book called, The Speed of Trust. In it he talks about how trust is built and broken by people. It is no surprise that breaking promises (especially consistently) can break trust with people. (There are ways to rectify broken promises that we will cover in a later blog.) In the final analysis, relationships are based on a few key pillars. One of those is trust. Think about the people you trust and how you feel about them. Now think about the people you don’t trust. What is different between those relationships for you? And what are the factors that cause you to trust some people and not trust other people?trust

The price paid for broken agreements is broken trust. The price paid over time for broken trust is weakened relationships. All results are based on relationship. If you want to improve your effectiveness at work you will need to rely in part on others – a secretary, a boss, a subordinate. If you want to bring in new business, it will involve relationships with others – perhaps potential clients, or your assistants. If you want to make more money, it will involve relationships – perhaps with co-workers, your spouse, vendors. All results depend on relationships. And all relationships are built on trust.

A second price paid for broken agreements is that you don’t get what you say you want. Or you don’t get it as quickly as you would like. All agreements are made to move things forward. We don’t make agreements to be late or do a poor job on a project. We make agreements to be done by a certain time because that helps the business; or to do a certain project, and well, because that advances our clients’ interests; or to help our child with his homework because that supports his education. When we don’t keep these agreements, we don’t get these things. At least until we keep the agreement.

So again, this week, observe your agreements – where do you make them? Where do you keep them or not keep them?
And, again, if you are in Sacramento, I am excited to announce my goal-setting seminar for 2017.goals

On January 17, we will learn the value of setting goals, the all-important “why,” and the “how”. You will get clear on your goals. You will find the ways to commit to and achieve your goals.

Why Do 3% of Harvard MBAs Make Ten Times as Much as the Other 97% Combined ?

In 1979, interviewers asked new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program and found that:
• 84% had no specific goals at all
• 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
• 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them

In 1989, the interviewers again interviewed the graduates of that class. You can guess the results:
• The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all.
• Even more staggering – the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.

(Source: from the book What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, by Mark McCormack)

Join us on January 17 to create clear written goals for the year. Get ready to surprise yourself!

Note: Some people are afraid to set goals. Some people believe they don’t know what they want and so they are reticent to come to this kind of training. However, we will give you exercises to help you learn what you want. And even if you do not walk out fully clear on your entire year, you will walk out with more clarity than you had when you walked in. This is the place to start!

“When you are clear, what you want will show up in your life, and only to the extent you are clear.” (The Passion Test, Attwood.)

About the Author

Picture of Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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