Agreements are rare.
There’s something else much more common, and much less valuable.
An expectation is an uncommunicated rule.
Some of our expectations for other people are unreasonable.
❌They can never quit.
❌They can never question us.
❌They can never take a day off.
These are unreasonable because you wouldn’t ask these things of someone you respect.
Some expectations are reasonable, but you don’t communicate them clearly so you don’t get the results you want.
❌Like when your sales team doesn’t follow up with prospects.
❌When your project manager meets the deadline but blows the budget by 50%.
❌When your finance manager doesn’t warn you 90 days in advance that cash flow is critical.
You think they should know. You shouldn’t have to tell them.
It frustrates you.
Here’s how you transform expectations into agreements:
1. Ask yourself if the request is reasonable. Would you agree to it, if asked? Is it something you are willing to say out loud or put in writing? If not, then let it go.
2. If the request is reasonable, communicate the exact result that you want and identify how you will measure it.
3. Ask them if they agree to provide this result. Have them restate it in their own words.
4. Ask them to agree to come to you with proposed solutions to any roadblocks.
5. Set a date to evaluate the results together.
If an agreement isn’t met, there are consequences. This doesn’t have to include a lot of negative emotion, like frustration or disappointment.
It’s just, “You agreed to this, but that happened instead.”
You ask them to re-commit to the agreement and stipulate the consequences.
Making agreements is the grown-up version of authentic communication.
It requires you to slow down long enough to identify exactly what you want.
It requires you to communicate it clearly to someone else.
It requires you to ask for the agreement and recognize they may say no.
It requires you to follow up and hold people accountable.
It requires you to manage your mind.
Start creating agreements today.