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Clear Agreements
By Linda Miller

Have you ever walked out of a meeting thinking that you knew exactly what you were to do and what others would be doing, only to find out later that things didn’t go as well as planned? Clear agreements are critical to good relationships and progress in the workplace. Unclear agreements are at the root of most poor working relationships.

Meet Lisa, who recently landed a position as vice president of finance in a high tech company. An MBA degree, along with her intelligence, and her business savvy
indicated that she was ready to hit the road running.

Unfortunately, Lisa was not prepared to work with her CEO. He was laid back, easy going, and willing to delay decisions until the last minute—characteristics that drove
Lisa nuts!

For several months, Lisa managed to interact as needed, but her attitude took a downward turn. Meetings bored her because she knew that decisions would not be
made. She rapidly lost enthusiasm for her work.

While talking to a friend in another company, Lisa heard about coaching. Something clicked, and Lisa called her friend’s coach immediately.

Within the first few minutes, Lisa’s coach identified that there were no clear agreements for the leadership team—for operating, meeting management, key responsibility areas, shared resources, or much of anything.

Lisa and her coach agreed on several actions that Lisa could immediately implement to make a difference. For example, at the end of her next conversation with her CEO, she recapped what had been discussed and identified her next steps.

As Lisa continued working on clear agreements, she experienced three changes. First, she began to get excited again about her work. Second, she noticed that there were fewer mix-ups and missed deadlines. Third, others began asking questions in meetings to get to clear agreements. The first time this occurred, Lisa realized that the changes she was making could really make a difference for others, too!

Here are some questions to consider when you become aware that clear agreements are needed:
1. If you operated with clear agreements, what would you gain?
2. With whom can you begin to focus on making clear agreements?
3. What might you do if you realize a conversation is ending without a clear agreement?

As you get ready to discuss clear agreements with others, you might want to think about how you’ll express what you want to say. Here are some examples of how others have started the conversation.

1. I’m still unclear about exactly what you’d like to have accomplished by next week. Could we please review it before the meeting is over?
2. I’d like to be sure we’re on the same page before you leave. This is what I think I need to do next….

Linda Miller
is a Master-Certified Coach who has focused on the expansion of coaching within the corporate arena since 1995

Additional information about the positive impacts of coaching is available at 800-993-1600



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