Make fair agreements and stick to them — Confucius
Dear Readers: I’m taking a hiatus from writing new blog posts for a bit, so I’ll be sharing some of my most popular past posts over the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy this one – please share your thoughts in the Comments box below!
One of the most powerful and useful tools a team can have to assist in developing and maintaining effective working relationships is a set of working agreements – the ways you agree as a team to operate together.
The beginning of a new calendar or fiscal year is a great time to review and refresh (or possibly dust off!) team agreements, as part of examining team goals or aspirations for a new year.
Here are 10 ideas for keeping team agreements alive:
- Open each meeting by reminding yourselves of your agreements – what they are and why they are important.
- Toward the end of your meetings, periodically review how you honored your agreements.
- Choose a particular agreement to practice honoring consciously.
- Choose a particular agreement to discuss as a group to deepen its shared meaning.
- Practice honoring these agreements in interactions between formal meetings.
- When dealing with tough or contentious issues, invoke an agreement to support you (i.e. “I think this might be contentious, let’s really be mindful of “actively listen to each other”).
- Provide group feedback on how the group is honoring the agreements – focus on one that is going really well and focus on one that is more challenging to honor.
- If you believe a colleague is not honoring an important agreement, be curious in case you may be understanding the agreement differently.
- If you notice a colleague is not honoring an agreement, model your agreements in bringing it to their attention; (i.e. if your colleague is struggling to be respectful, model respect in bringing it to their attention).
- If you realize you have failed to honor an agreement, own your failure and try again.
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