Have you ever become frustrated when a staff member fails to follow through on a project or request? The problem may be that we failed to understand the difference between an expectation and an agreement.
For example, we may ask someone to prepare a monthly sales report. If the report is not ready by the first of the month, we become irritated and wonder what went wrong. A better way to approach the situation would be to review with the person what information is required in the report and that it is needed on the first of the month. To establish the agreement, conclude by saying, “So, are we in agreement to have the report ready on the first of the month?” Then, if the person fails to produce the information on time, we can go back to them from a powerful position and remind them of what was agreed upon.
Agreements are powerful because they anchor themselves to a person’s character and are much more likely to be acted upon because they appeal to one’s sense of honor. When two people make an agreement, clarity and respect are established and stress is eliminated from our relationships.
Ken Albrecht is president of Reliable Propane in Clarence Center, New York. Visit www.reliablepropane.com.