Keeping Agreements to Strengthen Your Team

Relationships are built on trust and respect, and few relationships are as important as the ones among members of your team. One critical way to build and maintain strong team relationships is to ensure that you are keeping your agreements.

Agreements come in all shapes and sizes. Some agreements are big, such as promising to give an employee a raise or committing to finishing a project by a certain date. Others are smaller, such as starting a meeting at a particular time.

When you don’t do what you said you’d do, your employees, colleagues, vendors and customers begin to lose trust in you. You lose authority with them. They realize they can’t count on you, and the relationship deteriorates. The fallout can range from a vendor’s reluctance to compromise on a project fee to increased employee dissatisfaction to losing valuable clients.

Breaking agreements also creates messes that require time, attention and sometimes money to clean up. The mess might involve you apologizing and rebuilding trust with a key employee. It might be a situation that requires other members of your team to properly address, such as working overtime to get caught up on a project to avoid losing an unhappy client.

You Pay the Biggest Price

Members of your team aren’t the only ones affected when you fail to keep agreements. You stand to lose the most of all, because every agreement you make is one that you first make with yourself.

When you make a commitment to do something and then don’t follow through, you learn to distrust yourself. You lose faith in your ability to produce a result, which impacts your self-esteem, self-confidence and self-respect. You undermine your sense of personal power and integrity.

Even breaking small agreements can negatively impact you. When you hit the snooze button instead of getting up at 6:30 a.m. to exercise before work, you create confusion and self-doubt in your unconscious mind.

How Many Agreements Do You Break?

In my seminars, I ask participants to agree to a list of 15 ground rules that include things like being on time and sitting in a different chair after each break. Agreeing to the rules is a requirement to participate in the training.

On the morning of the third day, I ask everyone who has broken even one of the rules to stand up. It’s quickly apparent by the tiny number of people left sitting how casually we give our word … and then break it.

What’s most interesting is that the majority of participants know they are going to break at least one of the rules before agreeing to them. Yet they agree to the rules anyway because they don’t want to be the focus of attention, they don’t want to risk a confrontation, they don’t want to miss the training and a variety of other reasons.

Take a minute to think through the past few days. How many agreements have you broken to yourself or to others? How many of the agreements did you know or suspect you would be breaking? Now ask yourself why you broke the agreements – or made them knowing that you wouldn’t be able to keep your word? Using this simple three-question exercise will help you identify what’s undermining your ability to keep agreements, as therefore, your confidence and self-esteem.

4 Tips for Keeping Agreements

Here are four tips for helping you improve your ability to keep agreements:

  1. Make fewer agreements. Make a commitment only if you realistically can keep it. If you suspect or know that you will not be keeping your word, do not make the agreement. Check in with yourself to make sure that the agreement you’re about to make are things that you want to do, not something you’re doing to win someone’s approval.
  2. Say no more often. Give yourself time to think about a commitment before making it. Consider what you might have to give up to say yes to an opportunity.
  3. Write down every commitment you make. One of the most common reasons commitments are broken is that we simply don’t remember making them.
  4. Renegotiate commitments you can’t keep. Communicating your inability to keep a commitment as soon as you know about it demonstrates respect for your team members. Once you break an agreement, clean up the consequences and decide whether you want to recommit to the agreement.

A strong team begins with you. Keeping your agreements will strengthen your self-confidence and personal power. More importantly, it will demonstrate to your team members that you are someone they can count on 100 percent.


You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul® and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:


Who’s Coaching You On Your Path To Success?

You would never expect an athlete to reach the Olympic Games without a world-class coach. Nor would you expect a professional football team to enter the stadium without a whole team of coaches; head coach, offensive coach, defensive coach, and a special teams coach. Yet, many people believe that they can achieve their goals and new levels of success without any outside support or assistance.

If you fall into the category of people who believe that a coach is “good for some people, but not right for me,” I urge you to challenge this belief. Because of all the things successful people do to accelerate their trip down the path to success, securing the services of a coach is at the top of the list.

A coach helps you clarify your vision and goals, supports you through your fears, keeps you focused, confronts your unconscious behaviors and old patterns, expects you to do your best, helps you live by your values, shows you how to earn more while working less, and keeps you focused on your core genius. The best part? Today, coaches are available to support you in achieving nearly every professional or personal goal, whether growing your business, losing weight or simply achieving the balance life you crave.

Worth More Than Money

Throughout my career, I have had many coaches who have helped me achieve my goals: business coaches, writing coaches, marketing coaches, and personal coaches. The results have been tremendous.

First and foremost, I immediately doubled my free time. I delegated more tasks, scheduled vacations rather than merely thought about them, and hired additional staff that ultimately positioned my business to earn more. And that was just in the first few months. Not only did my business benefit, but my family did as well.

For me, coaching wasn’t just about making more money. It was about helping me make better decisions for myself and my business. The truth is, most coaching clients are very smart. Yet they still know the value of accessing someone who can be objective, honest, and constructive about the options they are facing.

Why Coaching Works

Regardless of whether the program is designed to achieve a specific business goal (say, increasing your real estate listings) or whether it’s set up to help you simply gain more clarity and progress in all areas of your personal and professional life, a coach can help you with the following:
•    Determine your values, vision, mission, purpose and goals
•    Determine specific action steps to help you achieve those goals
•    Help you sort through opportunities
•    Keep you focused on your top priorities
•    Achieve balance in your life while still accomplishing your business or career goals

Different Formats for Coaching

Coaching can be delivered privately or in groups. Most often, it’s done through regularly scheduled telephone contact, although it can also be done in person. Over the course of the sessions, you’ll work together with your coach to develop goals, strategies, and a plan of action that is positive, desirable, and realistic. Support is often provided between sessions through e-mail and other media.

Other coaches – typically those who are more established in a certain industry – help many clients at one time via group-coaching programs. This format allows you to tap into the energy of a group and learn from the experiences and challenges of other group members. These programs often feature structured large-group teleconferences in which you listen to valuable information, and then implement what you hear on your own. Some coaches will work with you every week and others once a month.

Still another form of group coaching are experiential seminars. These types of events go far beyond a simple lecture and PowerPoint presentation. Instead, they get you out of your seat to participate in hands-on transformational activities, such as small-group exercises, processing and sharing. You do the work you would normally do one-on-one with a coach, but instead you are among dozens or even hundreds of others engaged in the same activities.

My company offers all three types of coaching. Because I can make a bigger impact when working with many students at one time, I lead group coaching in the form of my Platinum Group, a small-group yearlong program, and a 7-day large-group program called Breakthrough to Success, where I lead participants through dozens of life-changing exercises and processes. But if you prefer one-on-one work, youcan opt to work with one of my highly trained coaches.

How to Find a Coach

There are literally thousands of coaches available to work with you. There are personal coaches, life coaches, and business coaches. Some are industry specific (dental, chiropractic, real estate, and speaking), some are job specific (executive coaches), and some are interest specific (strategic planning, health and wellness, finances, and career transition). You can find them on the Internet, in the phone book, and by asking around. There are organizations like Coach U and the International Coach Federation that can help you find a coach near you.

In my experience, the reason many of us are not living up to our fullest potential lies in the gap between knowing and doing. Often, we attempt to close that gap with the New Year’s Resolution only to find ourselves back where we started come February or March. If you want to achieve more, find a coach to challenge you to do more and be more.