Agreement 1: Learning Self-Leadership
There are essentially two ways we can show up in any situation—self-protection and Self-Leadership—and the great thing is we get to choose!
Self-Leadership is the ability to regulate our emotions so that we can think and behave intentionally, even under pressure and stress, to tame our reactions and get our critical thinking reengaged.
Our actions aren’t always based on our critical thinking and deliberate choices—as humans, we only sometimes act from our conscious intention. Other times we act out of routine or unconscious habits, or we react from perceived threats and emotional triggers.
- RECOGNIZE when you’re in self-protection, even when it’s stealthy, because remaining there will sabotage your relationships and performance.
- REGULATE your emotions by embracing the Power of the Pause. This can include activities such as taking several slow deep breaths, counting to 20, going for a walk, or dancing to some music!
- RESOLVE the issue that triggered you with the CCORE process to engage your Secure Self and empower your best thinking from Self-Leadership. CCORE: Carify the situation, choose my impact, observe my thoughts and feelings, release judgment, and engage my Secure Self.
Agreement 2: Defining Company Goals
Communicating goals effectively includes providing the purpose and benefits of the goal, the “why” behind what you’re doing. Everyone involved needs to be working toward the same outcomes, with the same purpose in mind.
Agreement 3: Establishing Clear Roles
Role clarity means that everyone knows their part in the business and how it fits with the other parts to achieve the desired results.
As a business grows, it expands its operations and adds team members. The structure becomes more defined, and the functions become more specialized.
Clarifying roles is a shared responsibility: As roles and duties shift, it’s up to each team member to proactively communicate what’s changed, so the team can review the impacts and adjust their roles if needed.
Clear organizational team structure and functional leadership is key to freeing up a CEO, so they can focus their role on the visionary, strategic, and innovative parts of the business.
Agreement 4: Building High-Trust Relationships
Humans are hardwired to recognize even the smallest potential threats in situations with others. This can lead to reactive self-protection, which is counterproductive in the modern workplace.
The antidote to acting out of self-protection, which damages relationships, is to provide “psychological safety”—an environment free of blame, judgment, and criticism, where your team is safe to raise issues and share ideas.
An effective apology is about repairing a relationship and demonstrating that you care about another person’s experience. It’s not about determining fault.
Effective acknowledgment and appreciation specifically describes the actions and behaviors of others and how that positively impacted you and the business.
When stakes are high, timelines are tight, and the pressure is on, it is easy to bump up against one another. It is helpful to apply compassion and remember you are a united team going for big outcomes!
Agreement 5: Making Conscious Agreements
Agreements are where the rubber hits the road in business. They are the main mechanism of teamwork. We are always making agreements, even if we’re not aware of it!
Agreements are a process, not a promise. As situations change, so must the agreements. There is way too much change always happening in business to consider anything an unchangeable “promise.”
Delegate outcomes rather than tasks.
Delegation is a two-way process with mutual responsibility. When everyone involved is responsible to generate a good agreement, it takes the pressure off any one person to get it right.
Group agreements take things out of the realm of the implied and assumed, where individual interpretation can cause challenges, to clear agreements that work for everyone.
Agreement 6: Recognizing and Responding to Change
Recognizing when things go off track is key! You know you are off track when achieving the intended outcome isn’t possible without a significant change.
Start with what changed. The way to respectfully and most effectively renegotiate an agreement is to start by looking at how the situation has changed.
When in doubt, go back to the outcome. Anchoring a discussion in desired outcomes makes it psychologically safe and not personal.
Perform active listening by slowing down, using perception checking (to fully understand another’s point of view), and making supportive, affirming statements.
Agreement 7: Creating Your Company Culture
Step one in any business, leadership, or team situation is to start in Self-Leadership.
It’s the consistent behaviors and actions your team collectively takes day after day, even in challenging circumstances, that add up to a high-performance work culture.
Remember these four must-have best practices:
Inviting Engagement and Candid Dialogue—two core communication strategies that foster openness and collaboration are soliciting opinions and talking tentatively.
Cross-Functional Communication and Inclusivity—asking ourselves “who is impacted and must be included.”
Proactively Surfacing and Solving Problems—anticipating impacts and addressing them as soon as possible.
Filling the Bubble—leaders and team members “fill the communication bubble” by proactively sharing their latest and most relevant information, along with their thinking, so that executives can focus on asking questions and giving guidance.
Meetings are where team members come together to become a “professional think tank,” doing their best collaboration and most effective decision-making.
A Players want their achievements to be recognized, but even more, they want their work to meaningfully contribute to the company’s success.
Conclusion: Your New Part
leadership is a journey. When team interaction isn’t going well, it’s painful for everyone involved. But if you implement the teaching in this book, that pain can lift and you will find yourself enjoying parts of your business you used to dread. You will look forward to meetings because you can’t wait to collaborate with your team. You will listen intently, eager to hear their well-thought-through ideas and how they plan to implement them. You will find yourself becoming a mentor and coach to your team, no longer needing to solve their problems or police their work, because they take the type of ownership normally only seen from actual owners.
Your leadership role is your vehicle to personally and professionally grow, develop, and contribute meaningfully to your organization. It’s how you achieve what matters most to you.